Dengler Domain: Planting Season

Planting season is here. Last week’s warm weather led to some getting out in the field and putting in this year’s crop. Others will start soon enough but it might have to be a bit due to this uncharacteristic spring. Compared to the last few springs, this has led to different decisions being made.

Soil temperatures rose nicely last week, but they are expected to drop this week. Hopefully, by next week, they will be hitting the right temperatures for corn and soybeans. I do not know my specialty crops as well, but I am guessing some must wait for warmer temperatures as well.

Weather is never a straight line, but this year feels more herky-jerky than previous years. It feels like if you looked at this year’s temperatures on a graph, it would be a wild rollercoaster ride. The opposite of a nice gentle ride up the temperature scale. What the weather also needs to do is provide rain when it is needed and stop when it is not needed. The crops need moisture but not too much to make planting too difficult. Throw in ideal temperatures in the equation and the crops will get their best chance to succeed if corn is planted by mid-May and soybeans have a little more forgivability on being planted later. Whether it is the precipitation, we need rain, but not at this point, but seriously, we need rain.

It sounds complicated and a little dependent on different variables no human can control, but this is one reason I love farming. Every day, every year is different. Trying to use one’s judgment to make the best call. While the best decision can be made, mother nature might still disagree with it. This is certainly frustrating but humbling. At the end of the day, humans are at the mercy of forces they cannot control.

One beauty of planting is the opportunity to see what the new year brings. It is hope, excitement, and new beginnings. Whether it is one’s first year or one’s 50th year of planting, everyone starts off on the same foot with the goal of growing the best crop they can. This is exciting. Everyone is filled with hope and aspiration that the season will lead to a successful crop. Nothing feels better than a wonderful year. If it does not go well, at least there is next year. Planting season is here, and I hope whether you are a farmer or gardener you have a successful and joyous crop year.

Sean Dengler is a writer, comedian, farmer, and host of the Pandaring Talk podcast who grew up on a farm between Traer and Dysart. You can reach him at sean.h.dengler@gmail.com.