CLEAR LAKE, Minn. – The days blended together as Ryan Peterson and his family put in long planting hours.
“We’ve been planting like crazy,” said Ryan on May 13.
Most days, except Sunday mornings, he was in the tractor seat planting from 8 a.m. until as late as 10 p.m.
The planting season started in late April as the seed corn company wanted the Petersons to plant half of their male corn hybrid seed. One hybrid is used for the male plants while another hybrid is used for the female plants. There is one male row for every four female rows, and the female plants are detasseled later in the growing season so the male plants can pollinate them.
The Petersons have a 16-row-planter, and usually, they plant the female hybrid seed plus half of the male hybrid seed first. That way, they can apply starter fertilizer along with planting the female seeds at a rate of 40,000 per acre, and the male seeds at a rate of 20,000 per acre.
By starting out with planting half of the male seed first this year (20,000 seeds per acre), the Petersons used their six-row corn planter that only has two boxes.
So, the Petersons hired their neighbor to use a 16-row strip till machine and apply dry fertilizer this spring ahead of planting.
“We normally put down liquid starter with all of our seed, but when we plant the males first, we don’t have a way to put fertilizer down with it, so that helped us out having fertilizer there,” he said.
Sherburne County had some drizzly days without a lot of sunshine, and then on Wednesday, May 8, the Petersons measured about an inch of rain. A layer of snow settled around suppertime, then melted.
“My dad put a soil thermometer 2-3 inches down, and it was still 50 degrees,” he said. “The top might be cold, but down a little it is still warm enough.”
They finished planting irrigated field corn on Friday, May 10, and planted some dryland corn.
The general soybean planting was finished next. Ryan and his brother, Nick, had a corn and soybean varietal test plot left to plant, and then it was on to the rest of the seed corn followed by kidney beans.
Out in the feedlot, the Petersons sorted off finished cattle. The cattle were ready for shipment on May 15.
The Bono Hybrid Rye planted last September was closing its rows in mid-May.
“It looks like a carpet of grass out there,” he said. “That’s good to see it is growing.”
Seed corn planting finishes up
The seed corn company wanted the Petersons to plant the female and the rest of the male seed on May 15, when the early planted male seedlings were over an inch tall. Spreading out the male seed plantings, hopefully, lengthens the pollination season. The Petersons used their 16-row planter and just filled in the male seeds in the rows using autosteer and precision planting.
The Petersons were looking forward to warmer and sunny days forecast for the near future. As far as rain – they can almost always use more. They don’t want to turn on the irrigators until the July 4 if they can help it.
“We don’t need rain yet, but on our ground, we wouldn’t mind a little shot after a while,” Ryan said.