Memories Of An 80 Year Old Dad planting corn with wire – almost run over

Memories Of An 80 Year Old

Dad planting corn with wire – almost run over

By Lee Meyer

“Every April 12th I am more thankful for our family moving to the Benson, MN farm”.

On April 12 in 2022 Phyllis and I celebrated our 64th Wedding Anniversary.

In the early 1950’s our family lived on a farm about five miles Southwest of DeGraff, MN.

As a youngster I was always involved in the farm operation. I was involved in cultivating corn and soybeans, plowing, racking alfalfa into windrows to bale, getting fields ready for planting by digging or disking, however two farm related jobs my father never allowed me to do were, #1 operating the corn picker which was a two row machine which was mounted on our Model “B” John Deere tractor, and #2 planting corn or soybeans.

First the reason for #1. Operating a corn picker that was mounted on a tractor presented many dangerous situations to the operator. Many farmers were too anxious to reach into the corn picker to clear obstructions, and ended up having the corn picker rollers grab their hand, with terrible results.

My father never allowed me to operate our mounted corn picker, which I am positive was a good decision on his part.

It was because I never had the opportunity to plant corn, I was not involved in an interesting situation that my father faced in 1953.

In the 1950’s seed corn was not developed, as is the seed corn farmers plant now. Most farmers planted corn in groups (3 or 4 seeds) usually spaced 40 inches from each other.

In order to create the 40-inch spacing, which allowed the farmers to cultivate their corn lengthwise and also allow them to cultivate crossways, farmers used wire with notches spaced 40 inches apart to allow the planter to plant each hill of corn.

The corn planting wire was anchored at each end of the field in stakes, and the farmer would move these stakes at each end of the field to accommodate the size of his corn planter, two row, or a four row.

To explain the experience my father faced in corn planting in 1953, I have to explain the layout of the farms my father had. Our land was on the township line between Cashel and Torning townships. The difference in the layout of each township meant that our middle quarter was directly on line where the layout of the gravel roads would jog ½ mile, which meant the gravel road at the township divide would end directly on the road leading into our field.

On the particular day in 1953 I am referring to, my father had just completed his first round of planting, moved the stake holding the wire and hooked it to the planter, and was just starting a new round up the field when a car came off the approach leading into the field, drove across the field just behind the corn planter, spinning and throwing dirt, circled my father’s tractor and corn planter, circling in front of the tractor, disconnecting the planter wire from the corn planter, driving off the field back on the road heading east at a high speed.

To my recollection my father’s account for the car going around him planting corn was, “Some damn fool just about ran over me in the field”!

I was on another tractor working ground to be planted in soybeans later, however I do remember coming home at noon for dinner, and my father was still boiling mad, five hours later.

In 1967 while having a beer with a friend, who lived about three miles south of our farm in 1953, he said to me, “I just about ran over your “Old Man” in the field many years ago”.

He went on to say, “I was going to stop and apologize, however I thought better of the idea”.

I assured my friend it was a good idea he decided to continue driving.

While not wanting to give the name of my friend, I will say he was a farmer in the DeGraff, MN area, and also was a well driller.

Lee Meyer currently lives in DeGraff, Minnesota but has ties to the Morgan area. Some of his columns are based on his memories of Morgan and time spent there when he was young. You may contact Lee by email at:


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