Plant 2022: Hurry up and wait
Matt Miles finishes up planting corn, Kelly Garrett waits for his soybeans to emerge, and Kevin Matthews’ wheat application is shut down for 10 days by a faulty sensor.
KELLY GARRETT - ARION, IOWA
A fifth-generation farmer, Kelly Garrett farms corn, soybeans, and winter wheat in western Iowa.
The soybeans we planted on March 21 are not out of the ground yet. We went out to the field to check them, and everything looks OK at the seed level, so we are still very confident they will be fine. We’ve had some cool and cloudy weather come through since we planted, so the delay in germination is no surprise. But, it sure would be nice to see some life soon.
I’ve been working with Mike Evans from Integrated Ag Solutions and Jason Schley from Next Level to prepare a foliar application for our wheat crop. The application is designed to stimulate root growth and protect the crop from any weather-related stress it may experience this spring. If you’ve been paying attention, then you’ll know we are having a friendly competition within XtremeAg to see who can grow the wheat with the most ROI. I am intent on beating Chad (Alabama) and Kevin (North Carolina), proving we can grow top-notch wheat yields here in Iowa.
We are still dry. We’ve had a couple tenths of rain in the last week, but moisture is pretty scarce right now. Our ground temperatures are still in the low 40s (˚F.), yet I hope to start planting beans again in a day or two assuming the weather cooperates. We won’t start planting corn until the end of the month at the earliest. It would be nice to be planting corn in April, but it’ll all depend on the ground temperatures.
Throughout my farming career I’ve come to realize that a late Easter often means a late spring. It appears it will be that way again this year.
MATT MILES - MCGEHEE, ARKANSAS
Matt Miles is a fourth-generation farmer in southeast Arkansas who grows corn, soybeans, rice, and cotton.
In the seven dry days we’ve had so far in the Delta, we have managed to get a lot of our crop into the ground. We were able to get back in the field late last week and I’m sitting in a tractor right now as I write this update. I am becoming more and more thankful for the days that we can get into the field, since it seems like we’re battling wet springs more now than we ever did earlier in my career. Of course, that also may be a result of having moved our planting dates up about a month from when we used to plant in the “old days.” We finished up corn late last week, and we’re moving our third planter into soybeans. Then we will move on to rice and then finally cotton.
I would like to take some time to remember and pray for the farmers in Ukraine. I can’t imagine how you could even think about working in the field with missiles, planes, and bullets flying all around you. My thoughts and prayers go out to them, and we feel so blessed to live in a country where we can focus on farming. We take life for granted so much. Even with some of the struggles we deal with in this country, we still live in a wonderful place.
Good luck to everyone during planting season and be sure to get good rest so that you can stay as safe as possible with the long hours ahead.
KEVIN MATTHEWS - EAST BEND, NORTH CAROLINA
Kevin and his wife, Cindy, own and operate Matthews Family Farms of North Carolina, Inc., Precision Nutrient Management, Inc., and Deep Creek Grain, Inc. in East Bend and Yadkinville.
10 days! Yes, we’ve had to wait 10 days before we were finally able to apply a growth regulator on our wheat crop. All because the DEF level gauge failed on our Hagie Sprayer.
It was derated (reduced power rating) in the middle of a wheat field, 1 mile off the road. We were able to limp to the edge of field, where it sat for over a week while we tried to track down a replacement gauge.
When we ordered the part the following morning, we were informed it was not available. Our frustration grew as we then had to take another step of filing a detack case, and wait days for the response only to find out that John Deere had the part all along. The part was released to the parts department for next-day shipment, but the weekend got in the way, and it was not until Friday at 4 p.m. that we finally received the part. Meanwhile, our sprayer had been sitting in a field with a loaded tank for 10 days. Within an hour of receiving the part, we were back up and running.
The government should not allow manufacturers to have our equipment’s emissions keep us from feeding our livestock and crops, just because a simple sensor or wire fault causes a derating of power in one of our machines, even though the technician knows the engine is still performing properly!
We must be allowed to have a dealer authorized override on equipment in this situation, so we can continue to plant, harvest, and tend to our animals. Our crops and livestock continue to grow, regardless. We need to take a serious look at how the current laws force farmers to jump through hoops and cause unnecessary downtime when farmers can least afford it.
It’s time we call on all associations and get the word to our politicians we need help. COVID proved that agriculture workers are essential workers, and so is the equipment we run.
My frustration with this process is sky-high. Crops and livestock cannot wait for this type of corporate red tape.
When we farmers complain to a company like John Deere, it always gets thrown back to the dealer. Well, I disagree! Our dealers are awesome. They bust their tails to keep us going at all costs.
I realize it’s hard for agriculture companies to find many employees with a farming background. After all, we represent less than 2% of the population. But the first manufacturer that puts crops and livestock first will be the choice of farmers, period! Colors and brand name won’t matter!
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