Dirt Road Charm

Motherhood, Agriculture, and everything in between

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The life of a corn seed: Part 1

It has been a little while since I got to blog, mostly due to the fact the it is prime planting time and for someone that sells seed this is quite a busy time to say the least.  Driving around dropping off seed to customers and putting in test plots takes up quite a bit of time.  While putting in a test plot last week I thought it was the perfect opportunity to start a series of what all phases a corn seed goes through from start to finish and all the different things applied to it to help it grow. 

Many people have preconceived ideas about certain companies forcing people to do certain things and farmers just spray chemicals on seed all year round.  Why not show exactly what DOES happen to a corn seed?  Now granted this may not be what all farmers practice but I have chosen one of my customers and you will get a first hand look at what all is applied and why!

First they work the ground to make sure it is all nice and smooth and the big clumps of dirt are broken up.  It also helps with weed control by ripping up the weeds and killing them.  Now like stated not all farmers work ground.  Many farmers practice no-till in which they don't work the ground.

Next we put the seed into the planter.  This farmer chose a seed that is corn borer, earworm, armyworm, and cutworm protected as well as rootworm protected.  That makes this seed genetically modified to protect against these insects.  The reason this farmer chose those protections was because he has had these insects cause a problem in the past.  A farmer could easily lose a whole crop to an insect so to have this protection in the seed is insurance for the farmer.  It is like having a tomato plant and coming out and seeing a bunch of tomato worms have eaten the whole plant and ruined the tomatoes.....not a good day.  Being able to protect these plants from those insects is huge for farmers.  Granted not all farmers have these insects present and therefor do not need to use the technology.

You will also notice that there are 2 different colors of seed.  There are green and some small amounts of purple.  The purple seed is what we call refuge seed.  Refuge seed is not genetically modified with Bt traits which are the insect protection.  The purpose of the refuge is prevent pests from becoming resistant to the technology. 
Before heading off to plant the farmer added talc to the bins of seed to act as a lubricant.  As the temp warms up along with humidity the chance for seeds to stick together and bridge up increases.  When that happens seeds can fall inconsistently which then can effect yields come harvest.  This keeps that from happening!
Last but not least we head to the field and plant the corn seeds into the ground!  Nothing like some sunshine and 75 degrees to get the corn growing.  We also made sure the soil temp was at least 55 degrees to ensure the corn seed would grow.

Stay tuned to watch the different stages of growth and to see what gets applied to help this corn grow. 


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