Friday, April 27, 2012

Open Station

Luke from Iowa posted on Crop Talk about quitting planting before 10 o'clock at night. He plants with an "open station" tractor like I always did.

"Open station"
came about after the first cabs on tractors became popular 20 years ago or so. Before that, they were all, just "tractors!"

When I was a kid, dad planted corn with a 2 row mounted planter on a Ford 8N, then quickly switched to an Oliver 550 because we wore out the Ford too quickly. He planted like that with the Oliver 2 row mounted planter for most of my years on the farm. About the time I left, he got an Oliver 540 4 row pull type planter and then we rented the White 5100 notill corn planter in 1976 and that changed planting for us forever.

I gave up planting with that old planter for my 60th birthday and sold it to an AgTalker. He just called this morning to tell me a story. He got radishes and peas planted in 10 acres of wheat stubble last summer and then got 7000 gallons of hog manure on it per acre. You can imagine how rough it was but the radishes really soaked up the hog manure and left the ground mellow.

Jim said he planted a plot for Pioneer on it and the rep drove in, scratched his head and asked, "are you really going to plant into this?" I can imagine what it looked like, not quite as bad as those Missouri River flooding landscape pictures from last spring but you get the idea. He answered, "sure am!"

He said when they got done, the rep said that was the nicest job he had ever seen a planter do and the ground was as mellow as could be. That made me pretty proud I hadn't sold a piece of junk, although it really needs a paint job, and the old White planter lives on.

I don't think I could have pulled it with a cab tractor because I like to be as close to the planter as I can and hear all that's going on with the mechanisms and the sound of the seed to soil contact.

On that note, there are problems as expected with last year's seed from certain areas, so keep your bags and check your fields weekly. Also, I had a farmer call me and he tested the 28% UAN he bought locally and it only tested 13%. What's worse, an unidentified chemical in the fertilizer nearly killed his corn.

Farmers, test your seed and your fertilizer, unfortunately there is some junk out there!



  1. Maybe the organic guys have the right idea.

    1. Still planting with the open station M670 Super Dad bought new in '68. I think I was about 12 when Dad started me planting with the M5 and 4 row 3pt. Moline planter he made out of 2 two row planters. We planted 38" rows in corn and just planted 2 rows for a 76" row in pole beans. That 670 has pulled about 7 different planters. We use a no-till 5100 White now. I remember finishing up one night at 3 AM with the old 5400. Its a challenge following the row markers with just the fender lights on the tractor. That mounted corn picker brought memories of picking sweet corn all night with a 656 Farmall and FMC mounted 2 row picker. That's what everyone used here in the '70s.

  2. One son has a neighbor who is organic but he's pretty far out there! He's a pioneer for sure but at $15 beans plus non GMO premium I figure the market is offering near organic price!

    68 was my senior year when I went to get "brain washed" by the University! I came home with all this hair brained(excellent) ideas that dad couldn't afford, so 3 years later I started doing them myself!

    It's pretty hard to farm on a shoe string, though and my old Oliver 1655 and White 5100 shows that! I never could farm at night, I can barely see during the daytime!