So much goes into preparing the ground for planting. Through soil testing, conservation methods, nutrient applications, we try to give our crop the best start that we feel we can. Cover crops are also used as a method to put nutrients back in to the soil as well as being used as a late fall/winter forage for cattle.
Selecting the seed that is planted starts long before the planting season begins. At Marshall and Fenner Farms, we utilize results from test plots that is moved each year around the farm, in order to select the best varieties possible for our fields.
When planting season rolls around and the weather conditions are right, the planters get busy either planting in tilled ground or no-till planting in the crop residue from the previous year. Double crop planting is also used on the farm by planting soybeans in the wheat stubble to be harvested in the fall.
Through soil tests done in the off season and historical yield data in each field, variable rate application maps are made and the fertilizer rations are mixed and spread on the fields. Anhydrous Ammonia is also put on for corn, either before or after with a side-dressing application method.
Scouting the fields for weeds, insects or fungal issues during the different stages of growth is key to making sure that chemical application is kept to a minimum for a lesser environmental impact. By minimizing the use of chemical applications, it not only benefits the environment it is benefiting the input costs and hopefully widening the bottom line.
All of the preparations comes down to harvest time. As a lot of the corn that we raise is used on the farm to feed the cattle operation, a majority is sold to the local ethanol plant to meet contracts, as well as selling to local elevators to extend cash flow and invest back into the operation at all levels. Some of the Soybeans and Wheat that is harvested is grown for seed production for local seed companies. The Wheat straw is then baled and used for bedding or sold for others to use.