The equipment used to plant corn and soybeans can be huge. Alan and Brian use a 40-foot planter, and their fields are spread out all over the county. So how on earth do they get this planter from place to place?
They drive it, of course!
With just the push of a button, the 40-foot planter folds up into a manageable size, and it can be driven on most roads.
Once the planter is folded, it’s not too difficult for the farmer to drive it away.
We are leaving the field and turning onto a state highway.
(Please don’t mind the dirty windshield. Oh, and by the way, you probably shouldn’t be taking pictures while you drive. Safety and all.)
The planter is a little too wide to quite fit in the lane, and it can’t go as fast as the rest of the traffic on the highway. Tractors do have a road gear that they can use to go faster then they do while working in the fields. But not all equipment can be pulled as fast as the tractors can drive. The type of equipment and the type of tires determines how fast the farmer can drive.
Farmers will do their best to hug the sides of the road, and they will go as fast as they are comfortable pulling their equipment.
It’s okay to pass a tractor on the road, but please be courteous. Keep an eye out for mailboxes or ditches where they may need to be closer to the center of the road, of course watch for oncoming traffic (not an issue on this divided highway). Not all tractors have turn signals, so please, please, watch the driver for hand signals, if you can. There’s nothing worse than a tractor trying to make a left turn when there is a car trying to zip past on the left!
And don’t take pictures while you drive. Especially in the rear-view mirror.
Big thanks to Alan and Brian Douglas, of Douglas Farms in Princeton, Indiana for letting me tag along in the field with them, and for teaching me about corn planting!