Patch Farmers Have More Fun!

Hoosier Perspectives

Round and round it goes, where it stops…..

Published on: May 3, 2010

Who says blondes have more fun? Not at all. It's farmers who farm every scrap of land they can find, even if it's nestled inside of a grove of trees. Anybody can plant straight, long rows in rectangular fields- well, almost anybody can. I struggle to stay awake, especially after a big dinner.

It's planting in patches carved out between surrounding tree lines that becomes a challenge. I had the chance to do this recently, planting soybeans with a split-row planter. In one day I was in six fields, the biggest being 16 acres. The first four I planed had only one straight side between the four. In the other three fields, it was more of a rounded look, with lots of nooks and crannies.

One cranny is so small that you can't even get to it with a 16-row cornplanter in planting position. You have to put it in transport mode. And once you get there, you plant maybe an acre, at most. Why do it? Because the landowner still thinks it's worth the same amount of rent as every other acre!

If you don't get dizzy, and I didn't, even though I'm prone to motion sickness, there is one bright side to farming patches. It seems like you're getting a lot done, because it's cool to say, hey, that field is finished. In reality, of course, you're getting less done because you're literally turning as much as you are planting in some of these tiny fields. But in today's world, perception is reality. So if I think I'm getting a lot done, hey, I'm happy!

There is an added benefit too. I'm not noted for planting straight rows. In fact, I've been known to plant on the curve even in straight fields. But in these kinds of patches, there is no way for anyone to plant them straight, not even the best tractor jockey in the world could get it perfectly straight. So I plant however I darned well feel like it. As long as every bit of ground gets covered, it's hard to screw up when there's no right or wrong way to do a job.

You also get strength training while planting when you do small fields. That's because you're constantly pulling levels to raise and lower the planter and markers, because you're constantly turning. By the end of the day tired old muscles realize they've had a workout, if only from moving levers back and forth.

You won't see deer standing and watching you in the middle of many flat land fields, either. One day I had an audience of three young deer. I was probably the strangest thing they'd ever seen.

One thing is certain. You won't get bored in these kind of fields. You're too busy anticipating which wacky way you're going to plant the next nook or cranny to get sleepy.

Hey, if you're a flatlander, don't knock patch farming until you've tried it. It will certainly test your concentration skills.