Even before winter releases its icy grip and allows the spring thaw to transition across Iowa’s fields, farmers are preparing to plant, grow and harvest another successful crop that helps feed the world.
Before planters do start to roll across Iowa’s countryside, farmers make important decisions to the types of seed to plant have already been made. They must decide the corn hybrids and soybean varieties to plants, along with the technologies they will employ. Those technologies can mean higher yields in different weather and pest situations.
As the tractors make their way through fields strewn with old corn stalks and bean stubble, the farmers know that the residue left behind from the previous year’s harvest provides a valuable cover to the rich black soil. Conservation tillage, combined with other environmentally-friendly practices, such as buffer strips along streams and strategically-place wetlands have reduced erosion and improved water quality, while enhancing wildlife habitat and recreation across the country.
As the corn and soybean plants emerge, family farmers keep a careful eye on their crops and utilize techniques to minimize weeds and control pests. If Mother Nature cooperates with the right mixture of sun and rain farmers can expect to produce safe abundant crops. The United States provides 41 percent of the world’s production of corn and 33 percent of the world’s soybean production. Those grains grown by one farmer help feed 155 people in the United States and abroad.
The above slideshow is a brief look at farmers planting their crops in Iowa and the hard work they do every year to provide food to a hungry world while caring for the environment.
Photographs and Story by Joe Murphy
Joe is a Photographer/Writer for Iowa Farm Bureau.