Can't We All Just Get Along: How to Plant Field Corners
Feb 15, 2015
I've had this topic in mind for a year or more, but haven't had the courage to broach it for fear of the acrimony and bloodshed it may provoke. But the time has come to discuss the proper way to plant the corners of fields. Traditionally, farmers left their planter engaged and planted around corners. It saved time and worked well with smaller farm equipment. In recent decades, there has been a trend toward planting "square" corners, where the farmer raises the planter then backs it into the field corner. In some circles there has been considerable good-natured debate about which way is the best way to plant corners.
Here's my opinion on the topic, having ridden in a lot of planters, sprayers and combines and watched while their operators negotiated field corners: Square corners take more time to do, but are easier on equipment and waste less grain in the fall. Take a 24-row planter or sprayer for example--if the operator plants/sprays a "tight" corner, the inside end of the planter or sprayer actually moves backward. That's bad for a planter, and creates overspray with the sprayer. At harvest, on a "rounded" corner, any cornhead larger than a 6-row knocks down corn as the operator tries to compensate for the differences in row curvature through the corner. With a square corner, the combine operator simply slows down and eases into the corner or across any rows, then lifts the head and squares the corner.
I've not done any scientific research on the topic. This is just my opinion based on watching out the back of the tractor or sprayer, or the front of the combine, while a lot of field corners have been worked. If anyone has scientific data or test results to prove or disprove my theories, I'd love to hear them.
Let the arguing begin...