Prepped, Primed & Ready to Go

As I compose this blog on the evening of Mother’s Day, more crosses my mind than just the farm, and the seeding operation that is set to commence. My parents gave me life, morals, and standards which I now live by, and are largely the reason I am where I am today. I owe more to them than I could ever hope to repay. Someday, I hope to be able to provide these things to a child (or children) of my own.

The air drills sit in our binyard ready to go to the field. We did a great deal of work to get them ready this year, and we even rented a new tractor to help get us through the spring seeding season. The sprayer sits in the shed, also ready to go, as well as our other major pieces of equipment. We are ready to begin seeding.

Tomorrow, we will load and calibrate the drills and take them to the first field, located around our home yard. This will give us an opportunity to test everything and make sure no major problems are going to pop up. Usually, the first day or two of seeding is slow, as the machinery usually has some issues, and it does take some time for everybody to get into the right mindset. By Wednesday, we should be going full out, with 10,000 acres to plant, hopefully completed by early June.

Right now, I feel a mix of emotions, as my excitement for the growing season juxtaposes my knowledge of how dearly I enjoy getting a good night’s sleep, which will be non-existent for me for the next while. Mostly, though, I am excited to get to the field and get this crop in the ground.

We went for a ride on our quads (ATVs) today to check some fields and roads and see how the water is running. There are big spots of water (as would be expected, since winter ended two weeks ago), but for the most part the fields are quite dry. Yes, I will admit, we will need a rain- but not for awhile. An inch of rain in 2-3 weeks from now would be wonderful, but Mother Nature plays by her own rules. For now, the focus will be on seeding, spraying and fieldwork, trying our damndest to get this crop in the soil in the best way possible. The quality of the job we do in the next few weeks will determine how the 2013 crop year plays out, and may well determine our financial success in the years to come.

When you plant millions of dollars in the ground and ask Mother Nature to help you out, you are taking a risk. A big one. I am well aware of this, and it does add to the pressure to not make mistakes. Errors can be extremely costly when you are spending $50,000 per day. A simple mistake in seeding at an improper depth, spraying the wrong herbicide on the wrong field, or forgetting to close the tank lid on the seed/fertilizer cart can be devastating in some scenarios.

But, I try to put that aside, and do my job to the best of my ability. Unfortunately, sometimes that comes at the expense of safety, as I learned yesterday when I accidentally sprayed myself directly in the eye with seed treatment. Yes, it is a dangerous substance, and I should have been wearing safety glasses; or at least glasses instead of contacts. But no, I had to pull out my contact and wash my eye immediately to prevent possible damage. These products protect the seed against seed and soil borne diseases and insects, but they are mildly dangerous. Care must be taken against mistakes like this, and against all the other hazards that heavy machinery, toxic chemicals, and a general lack of sleep can cause.

Finally, I cannot forget that my wife needs to have a husband around sometimes too. Right now, she is wondering when I will be coming to bed, as I instead type away on a computer alone. Relationships can be difficult to maintain when you are not around very much. But she understands that this is a critical season for us, and I think she understands how important this life is to me- because I think it’s important to her as well. But she will always come first.

Tomorrow, seeding begins. Talk to you soon.

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