A Day in the Life of a Soybean and Corn Farmer
By Aimee Bissell
Have you ever wondered what goes into keeping the planters rolling through the precious soils of our Iowa landscape? Aimee Bissell shares what a day-in-the-life looks like for her family during the spring planting season.
My husband Klint and I grow soybeans and corn on our farm outside of Bedford. Our sons Braydon and Tucker also take hands-on roles on the farm. Come along for a virtual ride as I share what a typical day looks like when we’re fully immersed in planting the season’s crops. It’s one of my favorite times of year on the farm, and even though the days are long, it’s such gratifying work.
A Spring Day During Planting Season
6:38 a.m. – I was woken up by my husband Klint, who was in a panic because his alarm didn’t go off.
7 a.m. – I make sure our two sons are up and getting ready for school. Before they leave, they need to make sure the chicken, duck and turkey chores are done. Klint heads out to start planting, and I put in a load of laundry as I do every morning, so I don’t feel overwhelmed by a growing pile of washables.
8 a.m. – I grab my headphones and tune into yesterday’s episode of AgriTalk and begin mowing the yard. The commodity markets are acting like a toddler on Mountain Dew, so I try my best to stay on top of the latest news.
8:42 a.m. – Klint calls, and he needs corn seed. I make my delivery to his corn planter. As I arrive back home, I find the John Deere mechanic in my driveway looking for one of our tractors that needs repaired. I give him directions, fill the seed tender with soybeans and throw a couple of boxes of talc (a seed lubricant) in the back of the pickup.
I give one of our seed dealers a quick call to let him know that I will have a semi-load of empty boxes if he needs them.
9:52 a.m. – I am back in the saddle, throwing grass clippings around like a strong Iowa wind as I mow the yard.
11:52 a.m. – Mowing is now complete. I am filthy and in desperate need of a mid-day shower.
I move the laundry to the dryer and prepare a quick lunch to take to the tractor driver.
1 p.m. – Klint calls, and he needs starter. This is a fertilizer that helps our corn get off to a good start, kind of like your daily vitamin. I deliver the starter and his lunch.
1:15 p.m. – I head back home with a near-empty fuel tank. On my way, I receive a text that a semi is en route to pick up my empty seed boxes.
1:36 p.m. – I arrive home, fill the starter trailer in preparation for its next delivery and fill the fuel tank with biodiesel (B20). Both of these will be delivered to the corn planting tractor late tonight. I toss a couple of boxes of fungicide in the pickup to be added to our starter later. This will be used for a strip trial we are doing with the Iowa Soybean Association.
2 p.m. – A semi has arrived to load up 10 empty boxes and return them to the seed dealer.
2:35 p.m. – I make my way to the house to clean up dishes from lunch, set the Roomba on a mission, and hopefully fold the laundry.
3 p.m. – I grab a quick phone call interview from a reporter with Iowa Farmer Today doing a story on female farmers for a Mother’s Day article.
3:57 p.m. – Our two boys pull in the driveway from school and the soybean air drill operator calls to let me know he is running low on soybeans. Tucker, our youngest son (13), quickly packs a cooler with drinks and snacks and hops in with me so we can do an operator switch out when we fill the air drill with soybeans. Braydon, our oldest son (17), is off to the parts store to pick up parts for our sprayer.
5 p.m. – I am back home to refill the seed tender with a box of soybeans.
6 p.m. – I proceed to do chicken chores tonight as the boys are both occupied with other farm tasks.
6:30 p.m. – I run back to the field with the seed tender, top off the air drill with soybeans so it will be good for the rest of the night, then I feed Tucker.
7:15 p.m. – Home again. This time I refill the seed tender with corn so it will be ready to fill the corn planter first thing in the morning.
7:45 p.m. – I receive an S.O.S. phone call from Tucker. He has a breakdown on the air drill (soybean planter). This is going to require backup!
8 p.m. – I arrive to pick Klint up at his field and take him to Tucker’s field to help repair the drill. When Klint and I arrive at the field, older brother Braydon is already there and running a grinder on the air drill to prepare the metal to be welded.
8:45 p.m. – The air drill is back in commission. Klint and I leave to return him to his corn planter.
9:15 p.m. – I arrive back home to finish filling the seed tender with corn (that was interrupted by the urgent phone call from Tucker).
As I was walking to the house from filling the tender, Klint calls and needs more starter. I make an about-face and head to the pickup to take off. DRAT! I find in my rush earlier today I left the key on in the pickup and now have a dead battery. Braydon is on his way to the field to take over for Tucker for the night, so I am the only one home. I cross my fingers and hope I hooked up the jumper cables correctly. Voila! It is running again.
9:59 p.m. – I finally arrived at the field Klint is in to deliver the starter. While we are filling his planter, I get an alert on my phone that the soybean planter tractor has an error code. I let Klint know, and he calls Braydon to check on things. It is determined that the tractor has a broken hydraulic line. Klint tells Braydon to park the tractor for the night, and we will get parts headed this way to fix it first thing in the morning.
I go back home with the pickup and drop off the starter trailer. Hop in the Jeep with our dog and head off to fetch Braydon from the field.
11:03 p.m. – Everyone but Klint is now back at home, and we are all hoping for fewer challenges tomorrow.
11:15 p.m. – I grab my supper and then head to bed to rest for another day of farming.