I farm with my oldest son, Keaton, and we started planting corn on Monday, April 20. Technically, we could say we started the day before when we planted a patch of sweet corn. But we feel like it is truly spring now that we are getting our crops planted.

The soil temperatures were a bit cool when we started, but they continue to warm up. We are doing conservation tillage just where needed to ensure a good seedbed. That tillage evens out the field surface to ensure that seed goes firmly in the ground to get off to a good start.

So far, the corn seed is going in the ground very well. Winds have created some challenges, limiting when we can spray pre-emergence corn herbicides. We try to provide weed control for corn as we plant.

Keaton does all the planting, while I do conservation tillage just in the fields that need it. I also spray the herbicides. Working together, it takes us about six days to plant all our corn. We do expect some rain to interrupt planting a few times. Mother Nature always has the final say.

Our soybeans will take another three days to plant, and we hope to do that next week, weather permitting. We have already applied pre-emergence herbicide to our soybean fields to control weeds. That means we will plant into a clean, weed-free field. 

While we work hard to plant our corn and soybeans, we continue to take care of our pigs each day. We send our pigs to processing plants when they weigh about 130 kg. or 280 to 300 pounds. 

A couple of pork processing plants in the Midwest have had to close temporarily due to outbreaks of COVID-19. However, so far, the packing plants our pigs go to have remained open, so our role in the logistics of the pork supply chain hasn’t been affected yet. 

However, the coronavirus pandemic has impacted prices for all our commodities. The drop in crude oil has impacted soybean and corn prices, which have dropped noticeably. And pork prices have fallen at the same time, due in part to the closure of restaurants, schools, and other institutions in the U.S. and around the world, limiting both domestic and global pork markets.

But despite those concerns, we are very glad to be getting the 2020 crop planted.