Farmers prepare for spring planting

Published 6:00 pm Saturday, April 10, 2010

There’s still a few weeks before farmers will be out in the fields planting though you may see them tilling the fields or preparing for planting season.

“Usually when it’s warm enough and it’s dry,” Casey Madson of Hartland said.

Madson was describing the best conditions for planting in the fields. The optimum time for planting is soon and usually around the second to last or last week in April.

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“Corn won’t grow unless the ground is 55 degrees,” Darren Hanson of Ellendale said.

Darren works with his father, Dave, and they are steadily getting ready for planting. There is a lot of maintenance to do on their machinery as well as other small tasks before they can plant.

“It all depends on the weather,” Darren said.

Corn is planted first because of its longer growing season and because beans need a soil temperature of about 60 degrees.

“Depending on the weather you can plant the beans right after the corn,” Dave said.

Farmers have been out tilling their fields because they’ve started to dry up a bit.

“You can till when it’s dry enough, but you can’t till too early or you’ll ruin it,” Dave said.

There are still many chores to do while waiting for warmer weather. Farmers are out fixing broken tile and trimming fences as well as working on their equipment.

There’s also seed, fertilizer and fuel to buy before a farmer can begin planting. There are many decisions to make about what kind of seed and fertilizer to use to get the best yield.

“You’re only doing it once a year so you have to do it right,” Dave said.