Jon’s 15 Acres—June 2015

June 22, 2015

As an art director at Paulsen, I know that most stock photos of farmers are pretty terrible.

Stock photo websites – even in 2015 – often depict the cliché of denim overalls and a piece of straw in the farmer’s mouth.

This portrayal suggests that farmers have a simple, slow-paced life. This has never been less true than today. After a day of farming with my father-in-law and his brother, my head was swimming with information. There is certainly nothing simple or easy about the work they do and the decisions they have to make every day.


Just one example of this is when I was recently at the farm and they were spraying the fields for weeds. It might sound like a simple thing, but there are many factors to consider.

All the seed my family plants is Roundup Ready® hybrid seed. Glyphosate, or Roundup®, can be used on these fields and takes care of most of the weeds. But there are exceptions.

There might have been unfavorable conditions in a section of the field, causing unusually high weed growth. Some weeds are more difficult to eliminate. Sometimes we need to treat volunteer corn in a soybean field. Such issues require spiking additional products into the spray to take care of them.

Roundup use has reduced the amount of chemicals needed, but even no-till versus conventionally-tilled fields require different treatments. There are also adjuvants to add to this mix to ensure the products all work together. These products have to be mixed with precision and purpose to ensure safety and control costs.

Then there is the hardware side of spraying. One of the farm’s sprayers has a guidance system, and one does not. It is nice to have, but when you don’t have it, you need a sharp eye to ensure you go down the correct row, as both missing rows and over spraying are very unfavorable. Then there are flow-control computers, hydraulics and just driving and controlling it all from the cab to keep you busy.

I am happy to report the Curry® brand corn planted on my 15 acres is looking great. It was some of the first corn planted this season, and we’ve had some good rains.

If you missed my first post, you can find it here. I hope you’ll check in with me next month for an update on my 15 acres!

Mark Smither

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