Some people think that the only busy times of the year are planting and harvest and the rest of the year farmers spend their glorious amounts of free time vacationing or tinkering with antique tractors. This may be true for some, but not the majority. Today is the fourth post in my one-year series which will give you an idea of a farmer’s workload throughout the year. Keep in mind that all farms operate differently and I am just providing one example of a year in the life of a grain farmer. There are several factors that contribute to the seasonality of the farm such as size and scale of the operation, crops grown, location, livestock, management style and general upbringing or personal work ethic! I hope this provides some insight to what versatile businessman farmers are.
Start at the beginning!
It’s planting time! No matter what part of the state a farmer is in, he’s probably doing SOME amount of planting in the month of May – assuming the weather is cooperating. Corn grows best in temperatures between 60 and 95 degrees. A rainy day can prevent progress for just that day, the day after that, or even a 3rd day depending on how much rain he got and how well his fields drain water. Keep in mind, planting is more than just dropping the seeds in the ground…
- Possibly apply Ammonia and/or fertilizer
- Prepare the seed bed by cultivating the ground
- Calibrate the planter for a variety of factors such as different seeds, field populations, soil type, terrain, etc.
- Plant the seeds
- Monitor germination and emergence
In the midst of all this field work, there are ditches and waterways to mow, equipment maintenance to keep up on, as well as bills to pay and grain markets to follow. A farmer won’t breathe a sigh of relief until all his crops are in the ground.