Making Hay
Week of May 25th, 2003 | The weather was chilly.

Do I smell garlic breath?

Do I smell garlic breath?

Hello to all! We've had good weather for fieldwork all week, but it is still a little cold out. We need warmer temperatures. This past week, I received the Star Greenhand Award (a really nice plaque) for all my effort in the New Hampton FFA District. I received this in front of the whole school on Wednesday.

We planted corn this past week. To plant corn, you have to work up the fields and prepare them for the crop. We used the disc, field cultivator, harrow, and the drag. (To find the definitions of these implements, scroll to the top of this page and click on 'Glossary of Farm Terms'.) We worked the fields until the ground was loose and yet firm enough for proper planting. To get the soil in that condition, the drag is the best tool.

While I finished preparing the fields, Dad was at home treating the seed corn. Using barrels and the wheelbarrow, he would pour seed corn out of the bags. Then, Dad would mix garlic powder with hot water. After it was mixed, he poured the garlic mixture in the untreated seed corn and mixed the corn and garlic. Then, the treated corn was dried off. Garlic keeps insects and pests off of corn. We like treating corn with garlic because it is very safe. You do not need to wear gloves at all. At night, Dad's hands smell like garlic!:) The smell is really hard to get off.

We filled the planter up with fertilizer in the front two boxes. Organic fertilizer is black and looks and feels like pebbles. The fertilizer we are using comes from a volcanic deposit in Canada. This is the second year that our fertilizer dealer is selling this product. The fertilizer contains phosphorous and potassium and it is organically certified. Then, we would fill the four hoppers in the rear of the planter with the treated seed corn. We would pour some powder graphite on the seed corn. Graphite is good lubrication so the corn can easily go through the planter mechanism and be placed into the ground.

We plant 30,000 kernels of treated seed corn per acre. One acre is 43,560 square feet. There are about 80,000 kernels of seed corn in a 50-pound bag. Can you calculate out how many kernels of corn it will take to plant 59 acres? (That's how many acres we planted). How many 50-pound bags would it take? Answer: 22 1/4 bags.

If it costs $55 per bag, how much would it cost to plant 59 acres of corn? Answer: $1216.88

It costs $25 for the garlic powder. It cost $25 per acre for the fertilizer. What was the cost for the fertilizer?

Answer: $1475

What is the total cost?

Answer: $2716.88 plus tractor fuel, maintenance, and labor.

Dad finished planting corn Friday evening. Now, we need at least a week of warm weather to kill the weeds and get the corn growing.

Friday, when Dad was going to the field to plant corn, he spotted a wild turkey in the neighbors field. We've never seen wild turkey around here. This was a tom turkey and he was dusting his body in the worked soil.

Saturday, Dad and I cleaned hog floors, ground feed, moved sows (some went out to the pasture), picked some rock, and I finished mowing lawn for Mom. It was a very busy day. We picked rock in what dad calls the "rock quarry". We brought the last load home Saturday evening and dumped the rock in a low spot in the yard. Saturday evening, Dad discovered that a large group of little pigs got into a cornfield and ate 3 1/2 acres of corn seed that had just been planted. We think the garlic treatment attracted them. They ate every row! Dad wasn't very happy. He had a few choice words!! Now we'll have to replant it.

Farm Fact: Usually, we do not know what seed varieties of soybeans we will be planting until the last minute. This is because of market demands.

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