Seed Corn Planting

Peterson Farms of Clear Lake, Minn., recently planted seed corn. Following this photo, the rain began to fall, and the region received over 5 inches of rain in May 2019.

CLEAR LAKE, Minn. – Everyone at A & L Peterson Farms wanted clear skies, warmth and a week without rain. Over 5 inches of rain fell in May, as intermittent downpours kept the soil saturated and temperatures generally stayed in the 50s and 60s.

Like most Minnesota farmers, Ryan Peterson was anxious to finish planting. ‘Hurry up and wait’ described his lifestyle during the wet planting season.

“If you’re not ready when the nice weather comes, then you’re toast,” he said.

The Petersons had all of their field corn, seed corn and soybeans planted in the first half of May. Those crops had emerged by May 28 when Ryan gave his progress report.

Ed Dahle, FIRST manager, put in a FIRST corn plot on May 7 and a FIRST soybean plot on May 16 at the Petersons. Ed remarked that many areas with FIRST plots remained too wet to plant.

“I was happy he got that done before it rained so it’s not so much different from our varieties,” said Ryan. “It’s good to get it in and be done.”

Ryan and his brother, Nick, also planted a large test plot featuring the varieties/hybrids they sell.

The kidney beans still needed to be planted. For seed, the Petersons received 11 1-ton totes of treated kidney beans from Chippewa Valley Bean company. The seed was trucked directly to Helena in Royalton, Minn., where it was tumbled with talcum powder to flow better through the planter. The seed was then put back in the totes and trucked to the Peterson farm on May 22 where it was stored in the office/shop/machine shed.

The Petersons use their regular Case IH planter to seed kidney beans but use edible bean seed plates. About 70,000 kidney beans are planted per acre, and Ryan hoped he could talk about successfully getting the kidney beans planted in his next report.

The Bono Hybrid Rye planted last September looked good at the end of May – but needed some sunshine to really take off. The Petersons planned to fertilize the rye using the irrigator system in early June.

Some of their neighbors in Sherburne County completed a little spraying over Memorial Day weekend, and Ryan hoped to get out in the fields for that before the end of May.

“If it just dries out a little bit so we’re not making ruts – packing anything too hard –a lot of us will be doing some spraying here,” he said.

When they had time, the Petersons hauled 2018 corn to ADM in St. Cloud. Their original contract had been with CHS in Savage but the Mississippi River remained too high for barge traffic, so the Petersons transferred their contract to the ADM facility.

They also shipped two loads of cattle to the packing plant in Green Bay, Wis., on May 15. After the cattle were shipped, the Petersons took a couple of weeks to clean pens and haul manure, as well as fix/replace gates, posts and pens.

They also administered a second growth implant into the ears of the 800-900-pound cattle.

“We got the cattle in at about 350 pounds so we gave them a shorter-day one to start with, and this is a longer-day implant to take them to the end,” he said. “The cattle gain weight more consistently on a steady basis, so it helps us with our bottom line.”

Ryan had called their cattle buyer about getting some more cattle in.

“We’re ready for them,” he said. “I’m hoping pretty quick we’ll get a load in. The feeder prices are not too high, and there is some money to be made if you can buy them right.”