According to the last Farm and Dairy, 79 percent of Ohio’s corn is planted, way ahead of last year (Marlin Clark said that last year only 2 percent of corn was in the ground).
When I was a kid, I don’t think we even began planting until near the end of May. Of course, we had to first plow all that ground, then disc it a couple of times, and finally harrow it with a spike tooth before the soil was considered fit to plant corn.
With a 2-bottom plow, 7-foot double disc, and a 3-section spike tooth, soil preparation took a while. Then our old No. 919 John Deere, 2-row, horse-drawn corn planter didn’t put the seed in the ground very swiftly, either. We were often planting corn afterEven rows? school was out for the year, which was usually around Memorial Day.
The only way we had of assuring straight, evenly spaced corn rows was the skill of the driver and the planter’s row markers. I’ve already told the story of the time when I was 4 or 5 that dad was planting with a team, turned at the end of the field and dropped the disc row marker right on top of my head. Luckily, I have a hard head, although I still have the scar.
Converting the planter
as old enough to drive the tractor while dad rode the planter, and I remember him often yelling at me to watch where I was going because I would often lose concentration and wander off the mark for the next row.
At some point, the neighborhood mechanic, Al McDonald, welded up a three-point hitch for the 919 and it was thereafter directly attached to the Ford. I don’t recall that the row markers were used after this, and no one rode the planter, but by this time I guess I was old enough to maintain reasonably straight rows.
A couple of weeks ago, my friend Roger Martig, the patriarch of Martig Farms on state Route 534 northeast of Salem, invited me to stop out and see how they plant corn now-a-days.
The Martigs put in more than 2,000 acres of corn each year and were already far along with planting this year’s crop.
Martig took me to a large field along Berlin Station Road north of the home farm, where planting was in full swing. The field, which had been in wheat last year, was chisel plowed in the fall.
His son, John Martig, was operating a Cat Challenger pulling a 36-foot wide Krause field cultivator and a Great Plains seed-bed conditioner with open basket crumbler rollers. The soil was left mellow and in excellent condition for planting.
Another son, Marvin, is the corn planting expert of the family and was operating a John Deere 8320T tracked tractor pulling a John Deere 1770, 16-row planter set for 30-inch rows.