Planting Woes

Husker Home Place

This is what happens when I'm in a hurry to get things done.

Published on: May 6, 2011

This is what happens when I’m in a hurry to get things done.

I will begin with my disclaimer. All of the farm machinery around my place would be considered “extremely experienced” by most regular farmer standards. So, when I had problems a few years back with my 8-row, 800 IH Cyclo air planter, you might be thinking that it is because that model planter has been around a while.

The planter is in excellent shape, I’m happy to report. However, when I get in a hurry around planting time, the state of my mind is not.

I had worked an entire day on the planter, preparing it carefully for planting corn. I had greased it up, tightened chains, serviced the pump and thoroughly checked the entire machine. I set it for the population I wanted to plant, loaded up the seed box and pulled into the field.

Just as I was completely prepared to begin, I turned on the PTO to watch the air pressure build to the right level. I watched and waited, and watched and waited. The air pressure was low. I checked the fluids in my pump again. Repeating the steps, the air pressure was not high enough for things to move forward. I scratched my head, kicked the dirt, muttered a few colorful metaphors and still couldn’t come up with a decent solution.

After paging through my planter maintenance book several times and checking out the entire planter again and again, I was completely baffled.

Finally, at wits end and “burning daylight” as Dad liked to say, I called the implement repair shop in town and asked if they could send someone out to help me figure out the problem.

When the repair technician arrived, I fired everything up again. It took him about ten seconds to figure out the problem that I had spent the better part of the afternoon working on.

When I stored the planter in the fall, I had cleaned out the seed box, greased up the bearings and placed the soybean drum back in place. Although I had changed the population to corn, I had forgotten to change the considerably more porous soybean drum to corn. Problem solved. Egg on Curt’s face.

I’m sure the repairman had a little fun at my expense around the coffee table back at the shop that day. At least my absent-mindedness brightened someone’s day. And looking at the bright side, nothing on the planter was broken.

As I write about auto-steer, GPS and all of the high tech tools farmers are using these days to be more efficient, to save money and to protect natural resources, I have come to believe that these tools also keep farmers like me from boneheaded mistakes.

So, if you were feeling bad about how slow planting was going due to weather or breakdowns this season, think of my dumb planting woes and put a smile on your face. The sun will come out tomorrow.

More crazy planting stories in my next blog entitled, “Planting Woes – The Sequel.”