Planting grain, in wet to muddy conditions:

While not favorable, the reality is: if you must/ then you must, because time waits for no man.

The critical reality is simple: if you plant in the mud/ the crop will find it very difficult to get through the dirt, that is not compacted together, as hard as it can get. If you plant in semi-mud/ only slightly better conditions for the crop to grow will exist; roughly ten percent may exit the ground.

To alleviate this problem: it is highly necessary, to approach planting from a different view.

  1. It is absolutely necessary to keep the seed moist through its primary germination stage.
  2. It is absolutely necessary, to keep the compaction from locking the seed into the dirt where it cannot escape.
  3. It is critical to discard weed control in the common methods/ and turn to mowing those weeds down; so the competition does not get beyond control. Once the crop is up and opportunity allows other measures will be taken.
  4. To accomplish the first two conditions, it is necessary to take the planter out only when you can get it through the field without making major ruts. Leave pond area’s out if you must/ go back later if you can.

That brings us to the reality of planting

  1. in order for the seed to remain moist, you must plant it at roughly four inches deep.
  2. In order for the plant to grow, you must place it in a v-shaped trough (common to planters) that opens the ground/ BUT DOES NOT close the dirt over the seed.

What you then get is a seed that will sprout and grow, although some branching will occur within the trench; the opportunity for roughly 90% to successfully exit the trench is expected. In extremely wet conditions, the open trench should allow for the seed to send roots below the major compacted area. If you don’t do more with a tractor than you must. This method has been tried for germination/ the seed will commonly turn green, and initially grow well; while still in the trench. I have never left it to maturation to determine season stability and production.

This method allows for 3-4 day planting; before the more common methods of planting, and soil conditions; can occur. Which when you are at the end of planting season IS SIGNIFICANT, and can make the difference. When reality insists, “we must take a chance”. The reality is: if you plant north to south, the trench is only exposed to direct sunlight for a couple hours a day. But if you plant east to west, the trench thereby the seed is exposed to sunlight for most of the day, and will begin to green. It can make a difference, in when leafing occurs, particularly with soybeans. Planting north to south is best.

If nothing else: try to get a silage contract, with livestock producers/ bearing in mind someone has to cut the silage. The plastic silage bags provide containment to any and all who have the means to then use it. Look outside your district if you must/ do that as a cooperative if possible. If it is suitable to do; this can and will replace other methods of forage. Transportation is an issue that must be resolved.

In summary of this method is:

We planted an acre or so, some years back at this method: it came up quick (you can replant if you want)/ looked good/ sidewall compaction of the seed trench was not severe. But after planting everything else; a week or so later/ the owner wanted this plot gone over same as the rest: so no fundamental data was collected beginning to end. {it simplified weed control}. That was done with all seed committed to growing: which then did not present a significant problem (no real amount of excess plants; if you do it at the right time) when it was replanted. No severe compaction from the single tractor and planter that did the work: no real complications. The net effect was: crop up quickly, tall weeds would have been mowed, over the (small crop); at a later date if possible/ or with a light tractor as quickly as possible. To avoid serious chemicals, had that been an option.

This is an option, and all indications were, that a crop would be raised with a potential significant yield. NOT the first method of choice/ but when it comes down to crop or no crop: “perfection” is removed. I wish you well. This is NOT telling you how to farm. This is providing an option to survive under trying conditions.

The critical conditions are: the seed MUST fall deep enough in the seed trench to remain in moisture for three days. The trench MUST not be closed; due to soil compaction and problems in that. NO weed tillage can be done/ one planter pass only.

Moisture content of the soil cannot be fully saturated. It can however be “spongee (2-4 days) prior to dry enough for planting today”. If everything is set right, the seed trench will be open through the wettest area’s/ and very gently almost closed where it is much dryer as field conditions vary. The benefit is a crop out of the ground, therefore we can get something/ the problem is weeds. The reality is: pressed hard, at the end of the season, you do have to choose. 2-4 days of extra planting is big! Particularly if it rains again, and shuts you out. The reality is a gamble: will it rain? Can I afford to be wrong? Take your pick. Because THIS IS YOUR DECISION, not mine/ don’t blame me, don’t reward me either. The food supply is threatened, it is my duty to help.

You do have a tiny bit of time left to plant your own test plot/ DO IT NOW, so that you can view the results. Tell your neighbors, so it is possible to compare.

Make a video, show the world: true or not true/ valuable or waste. But do it immediately, because the time is right now. Being able to plant in wet conditions has merit.  “Survival Planting” is based primarily on your ability to realistically traverse the field with a tractor and planter. If you have a pond that you cannot get through: make an end row and turn around. go back later if you can. weeds will be a problem; cultivation or just plain hand pulling is a potential answer.

An update: found someone with experience in this/ who did put in a test plot. Expected: Under these following conditions, muddy/ seed too deep. The end result was the brace roots on corn did not make it out of the seed trench/ trench walls, were too hard: a heavy on clay soil. Grew well, BUT, when the corn was tall a big wind blew it down. Because the brace roots turned into the trench instead of surrounding the plant. DON’T know if it was harvested. Soybeans do not have this problem.

The end result is: know your field: some ground is hard/ some ground is soft, the seed trench must not be “like rock”. A mud ball/ thrown against a shovel; must be able to break into at least a couple of big pieces, or its just too wet. Which means you cannot plant in mud/ but you can plant in wet conditions. IF you are expecting rain/ you can plant within two-three inches of the top. And if it fails to rain, after three to four days the seed should be committed and die; when you till it out. If it does rain: then you have a crop. This suggests that It is worth getting planted, when it is very late in the season: even if you have to replant. JUST the planter leaves only a small impact in the field: which allows for realistic replant; if the weather turns better.

Summary is: NO TILL works with chemicals/ even if that is not what anyone wants to do. Large weeds do not work well, so if they can be mowed down first it should aid the control; but in today’s world it will take chemicals to make this work. IF the ground is moist and rain is expected: try to get seed placed in moisture for three days. If you go much deeper and the sidewall is hard/ corn will fall down. If you go to four inches or so, with a realistic trench sidewall; the brace roots should be able to branch out properly (but I don’t know that for a fact). In the end result: the seed needs moisture and no heavy or hard soil on top; so that it can exit the ground. That can be done by leaving the trench open or nearly closed, or lightly covered (know your ground).

IF you are reasonably certain it will rain soon: which is the only reason to risk planting in wet conditions/ then it is also realistic to plant one inch deep if you can cover it lightly. In terms of soybean crops: if the seed leafs out inside the trench, it must escape that trench in order to survive and achieve a harvest. I don’t know the statistics/ this is a reality of this day and time; rather than prepared for.

The critical question is: given an approximate 106-115 maturity for crop corn: this is now June 4, 2019: maturity is roughly September 19-28, 2019. Average early frost (crop is finished, like it or not): for central IL is October 11-20. OR, there is a 90% chance it will freeze or frost on that date. IF the seed does not fully mature, it cannot be stored any length of time. IT CAN frost earlier than that.

MORE DISTINCTLY: check your seed bag: if you have 115 day maturity on average (depends on degree days/ too much heat or too little)/ YOU HAVE 12 DAYS FROM TODAY, (June 16, 2019) in which to plant that corn. Or you face a ninety percent chance it will die from frost if you go beyond that date. What you can then get, is then dependent upon many factors. Including a much earlier frost than expected; as the weather pattern has changed.

Due to global warming and all the heat released by humanity. Cold is drawn off the pole, as the jet stream continues to accelerate/ and our atmosphere begins to lose its grip on the planet; particularly due to deforestation.

It is necessary to understand, that if you plant shallow believing in rain/ and it does not rain; not all the seed will sprout, until it does rain/ and some of the seed will sprout and die. Then when you replant a short time later (because now it is dryer and you can)/ that seed will then be replanted in moisture and grow. Making the plant population too thick, to produce a crop. If it does rain hard: that can seal the ground over the seed, and produce a thick layer which the seed may or may not rise through.

Just for the sake of it: tillage too wet will result in “fist sized clods” throughout the field, along with other modifications to the upper 3-4 inches of soil or more: making it dry out easily. Which means you must plant deeper, to sustain that moisture for the seed. The proper place for seed is in a moisture bed that will be sustained for at least three days: water will gather at a specific level, after it is left alone. Sealed over ground loses about one eighth of an inch in that moisture level per day. Proper tillage loses up to a quarter inch of moisture per day. Wet tillage can lose as much as half an inch per day (as best I can remember). But a sprout will form on the second day and start going down to feed itself with water.

Just to be clear: I have not been involved with farming to any extend for over thirty years now/ since my ears were badly damaged. I was not involved with farming for the first twenty years or so: with these types of problems/ we never had a year that suggested we could be rained out of planting. Therefore unprepared.

THESE WORDS THEN: as is true for all the writing or suggestions I make, represent information that you may find useful in making an informed as possible decision for yourself. I do advise: DON’T gamble. Instead make a decision you can and will be able to live with, as best you can/ and accept the reality of your decision as it unfolds. Because that is realistically, the best anyone can do. Choose truth, lean on the side of safety if you can: high risk rarely pays.

You can gauge seed trench hardness, by trying to poke your finger through it: just like a plant would have to do. If it requires significant pressure/ it is probably too wet. You can also simply reach down into the trench and grab a handful on one side; if it refuses to come out easily, it will become hard. This is, some of the best agricultural ground in the world, with one of the best weather patterns in the world for grain: just so its clear. But I have farmed on worse. This is east central Illinois.

It would be unwise of you not to realize or recognize: that a total grain production for this year, based upon known weather patterns, is likely NOT to be in excess of one half normal production for the nation. The disease that has infected “factory pig farming” in China/ could easily come here. Dependent upon the disease, it can spread to other livestock industrial methods/ and in a very short time reduce that harvest by half or more as well. The current “billion bushel surplus” will disappear very quickly; and every other creature on earth, will be in jeopardy; if a disease spread becomes pandemic.

By the way: DON’T drive into the mud with a planter, it will change all depth settings due to mud clinging; even with it out of the ground. If you drive into “too muddy” and must lift the planter: it will be caked with mud on the disk openers and other parts/ and everything will have to be cleaned with a putty knife. CAUSING a two-four hour delay: which nobody needs. If you have “dry ground” close by: you can stop the planting and just pull it through the dirt to help clean everything/ if lucky. Don’t let it dry, as that just makes cleaning worse.

The primary cause of why planting in wet soil does not work with current equipment: is the hardening of the seed trench sidewall. Thereby forcing the plant to turn from its natural path, at the cost of being vulnerable to death. To alleviate or reduce this reality by design: it seems likely that a cross line (a horizontal line in the vertical trench) would likely open that hardening so the roots can go in all directions unimpeded. It seems less likely but possible: that small deviations on the trenching disks; would remove the “slick sides” of the seed trench and make it more possible for less compaction (by creating a less smooth surface) to result at those areas: in a specific height arrangement. The problem with these is an increase in drag, crumbling into the trench, wear. While a cross line can simply be added easily to the planter and adjusted as needed. This is a free (you may not restrict anyone else from using it/ just like you) gift. I hope you find it useful.

That gift does include the patent-able descriptions of rotating disks/ one directional rotating disks/ shovels/ springs; and other devices which can be adjusted for height or swing; to then create the cross line or potentially holes (a lead in for roots) to be desired. It also includes the miscellaneous methods of including “bumps/ cuts in the disk and other methods of limiting or removing slick sides in the seed trench. 

The most likely arrangement is: similar to two cowboy spurs; spring mounted close in opposing horizontal directions. So they clean each other/ and so the spur points engage the side wall trench to create opportunities for the roots to go in. a simple mechanical drive wheel, incorporated with each row; to aid the cleaning may be needed; as well as a variety of tips for different soils. in wet conditions, you need to slow down to lessen the impact/ and adjust packer wheels out.