Did you know the answer? Monday I asked what these signs on the edge of fields represented. Several people commented, here or on the Facebook page. The signs don’t designate field ownership, which was the misconception I was trying to correct. Instead they are a little more like billboards. They advertise to other famers what brand and variety of seed was used to plant this field. So here the seed was sold by Pioneer. If you looked at this field while driving past (and farmers do) and noticed the ground was similar to yours and the soybeans were doing really well you might take note of the number in red as well. Calling a seed salesman and asking for “Pioneer seed” would get you a very long list. Here’s a screen shot from their website. You scroll through two pages of this chart. But if you know the number you can click through and find the information about the seed you are interested in. The website provides information on how it grows in different soil types, how many days it will take to grow to a mature plant, how well it does against disease. And while you might go around with a brand name on your jacket, you probably don’t go out of your way to advertise for a company. Neither do farmers. Seed representatives for the various brands check with farmers for the the fields using their products and then scout for crops that look best. The reps put in signs to advertise their business. For the farmer a sign is a little bit like a gold star. Your crops look great! Brian (AKA Daddy) used to scout for sign-worthy crops during an internship he had in college. It’s hot, sticky work! Some of you also mentioned test plots, or research, where a company or university grows a seed to learn how it does in a specific area. You can usually identify test plots by the rows of signs. Also important, seed companies work with farmer/landowners to do these test plots. The seed representative (rep) sometimes gives a farmer specific seed to try for free, or the rep may come and plant the seed himself. It’s a pain on our farm, but some growers really like the advantages of test plots. While the companies do own ground, probably near their research facilities, it is a TINY percentage of farmland in the US. So the family farm isn’t gone. In fact, non-family corporations actually make up only 3% of farm ownership in this country. 97% are still family farms!
Posts Tagged With: seeds
For a farmer, spring is hope. No matter how poorly last year’s crop grew, despite the prices at the grain elevator, and against the odds of droughts, hail, insects, flood, and other calamities, we put seeds in the ground.
Last week Daddy showed up in the field that is our front yard (at bedtime, please ignore the pajama-clad kids) to plant the first test rows.
He drove the tractor a few yards into the field and stopped to see how the planter was working.
Daddy looks in the rows created by the planter to see how deep the seeds are, how close together they fell into the ground, if there are spaces where the planter skipped seeds or dropped a double.
Daddy has invested equipment from a company called Precision Planting that creates add-ons for your tractor and planter to ensure that every seed is placed as precisely as possible. For crops like corn, that can make an impact.
He’s also checking to see if the wheels on the back of the planter are doing a good job covering the seeds back up with soil. If you look carefully at the above photo you’ll notice one round, black wheel paired with one spiky looking one.
The ground was too wet to use the spiky wheels, so Daddy had to take the planter back to the shed and changed each spike wheel to a matching black one.
When he came back the next morning I was able to grab a few pics of him unfolding the planter. This piece of machinery is 60 feet wide and couldn’t possibly get down the road like that!
This planter folds in three places, with the two side sections bending forward to align next to the bar that pulls it behind the tractor.
The sections swing out and the bar that pulls behind the tractor actually shortens to give more control while Daddy is driving.
When the sections lock into place its ready, planting more hope in the ground as it goes.