While first crop insurance dates are coming up quickly, late cold weather has pushed soil temperatures down to where we need to start reevaluating our planting schedule this Spring. Current soil temperature readings are hovering in the 30’s & 40’s in most of our region. With the possibility of future inclement weather in most cases it will not be worth the risk pulling the planter out into the field as early as you had probably planned.
Wait to plant until the soil temperature is right
As you make early-season planting decisions, always remember that soil temperatures closely follow air temperatures. In general, corn should be planted when soil temperature near 50 degrees. The condition of the seedbed is always an important consideration for corn to germinate. But it takes two things in the right amounts to properly start the corn seed germination process. One is the right temperature and secondly, the seed needs to absorb around 30% of the seeds weight in water to begin the process in cooperation with soil temperature. (Note: soybeans need to absorb about 50% of the seed weight.)
Yields are much more stable early in the planting season than late. Planting 10 days before the optimum window is generally a much safer practice than planting 10 days after the window. This is because yields will begin to drop off dramatically in mid-May. We recommend planting corn prior to May 15 if possible. Of course, embedded within this planting date recommendation is the assumption that soil conditions are favorable and that good hybrids have been selected. Planting date is simply one criterion among many that will allow high yields to be reached.
Check out your local soil tempatures here.
Planting season has started in the Southern Hoegemeyer footprint and planters will be rolling across the Midwest soon. Let’s review proper plant seeding depth for corn. There are a few inputs such as foliar fungicides and insecticides which we still have at our disposal if the situation warrants. But for the most part we are at the mercy of Mother Nature in terms of temperature, rainfall and sunlight intensity which are key factors for yield. Prior to that however, there are several things that are very much in our control. Rapid establishment of a uniform crop is of utmost importance if you want to even have a shot at approaching full yield potential at the end of the year.
How deep should I plant corn?
Corn seed to be planted between 1.75 and 3 inches.
Does planting date influence how deep I should plant?
Although some people believe that early planting should be planted shallower so the seed gets in warmer soil this is not true. Even your earliest planted fields should be dropped at the same 1.75 to 3 inch planting depth. The only time we would plant deeper would be if we needed to find moisture to get the seed to germinate, but never shallower.
What are some of the detrimental effects of shallow planting?
As simple as it may sound, shallow planting depth with corn can lead to many significant problems. When seed is planted too shallow, fewer root nodes are able to establish beneath the soil which leads to a restricted and overall lesser root mass. Plants may emerge uneven; lodge later in the year; be more prone to nutrient deficiency symptoms early in the year; have reduced water uptake under drought; and be more prone to rootless corn syndrome if soils are dry early in the year. Anything less than 1.75 inches is typically not ideal for most soils.
How can I make sure I’m getting proper planting depth?
Make sure you get your planter out in the field a few days ahead of when you want to start planting. You will have time to make some last-minute tweaks to ensure the planter in properly set before getting into the field for the season. Also make sure to check the planter every few hours and especially when changing fields with varying soil types.
Any portion of yield potential lost early in the season is gone for good with little chance of recovery in full no matter how favorable the growing season is later in the year. Getting planting right is one of the most important things we can manage.
If you have questions, contact your local Hoegemeyer agronomist, district sales manager or dealer.
A successful 2018 harvest begins with proper hybrid selection and planting in the spring. Several factors impact how hybrids will live up to high-yield expectations and no two fields are the same. Your experience coupled with Hoegemeyer’s product placement recommendations will help you place the right seed in the right field.
How to ensure optimum hybrid placement:
Soil-type dynamics: Your soil tells a story and selecting the right hybrid for your soil profile is critical. Whether you are farming sandy soils with less than 1% organic matter or soils with high pH issues we can help you decide what products will not just survive, but produce above trend line yields on those acres.
The past five years we have ramped up our high pH and sand testing program, and gathered replicated trial test results to help you make more informed decisions about what hybrid to select for these challenging environments. We have found Hoegemeyer 7088 AM™ Family, 7606 AM™ Family, 7946 Family, 8326 AM™ Family, and 8414 AM™ Family products have been out yielding the competition on these challenging (both sand and high pH) acres.
Trait mix: Hoegemeyer is committed to offering a complete line-up of corn hybrids that have both options across several different trait platforms as well as genetically unrelated products to help you diversify your product portfolio. We provide you with traits you need whether that be a conventional product for the specialty market; Roundup only refuge products; a double stack product for those rotated acres; or a triple stack for corn on corn.
Having different trait packages and genetic diversity on a farm are a great way to help mitigate risk depending on the weather, insect pressure and differences from one growing season to the next.
Planting population: Every hybrid handles planting populations differently. Hoegemeyer conducts extensive research on hybrid response to various planting populations. Some hybrids will excel at low planting populations, while others will need high planting populations to maximize yield. We publish population recommendation sheets that base plant populations on yield goals. Based on the hybrids you plant, you can use this guide to advise you on how many seeds need to be planted per acre to maximize yield.
Environmental stress: Hoegemeyer has several products with excellent drought tolerance. Over the past several growing seasons I would be willing to bet many of you have used an Optimum® AQUAmax® product. We have been fortunate in the Western Corn Belt with rain the past few growing seasons but as they say “we are only a week away from the next drought.” These products will yield in times of drought and when moisture in plentiful.
Goss’s wilt tolerance is another key factor for product selection. Just because we haven’t seen it widely the past few years doesn’t mean with the right weather pattern it isn’t there ready to attack. If Goss’s wilt has been an issue in the past make sure to plant a tolerant product to reduce yield loss from this bacterial pathogen again.
Harvest timing and maturity mix: If you’re farming several quarters and you plant all 112 day corn hybrids, all hybrids may pollinate, need a fungicide and be ready for harvest on the same day. By planting a mix of genetics and maturities we can help mitigate these risks. We have products that flower at different times, different levels of disease tolerance and products that will stand long into the fall. Make sure you are planting a good mix of genetics, maturities and traits to mitigate risk on your farm.
End use: Another important part of hybrid selection should be based on what is the end use of the product being planted. Hoegemeyer has data that will showcase which hybrids work best for either beef or dairy silage. We have several good options across a range of maturities that will work for both grain as well as silage.
These key placement tips are good reminders as you develop and finalize your 2018 planting plan.For more information about product placement, contact your Hoegemeyer seed representative or refer to your seed guide for optimum ratings and recommendations.
In 1974 Steven Cordell started farming in northwest Missouri and was first introduced to Hoegemeyer products by a neighbor dealer. Five years later, he married and starting selling for the brand with a personal challenge to get his in-laws to plant 100 percent Hoegemeyer.
This challenge took a couple years of adding a few Hoegemeyer bags to their line-up and many conversations, but Steven’s father-in-law and brother-in-law were convinced that they needed to be all in. “They found the yields and seed quality were consistently better than what they had been planting,” added Steven.
Cordell’s 38-year dealership is truly a family affair spanning generations. Steven, with the help of his wife Debbie, operated out of his car trunk and garage during the early years and have grown their business to include their children and spouses. “My son, Ryan, has always had a passion for agriculture and he’s a lot better salesman than me,” states Steven.
Today, RKS Seeds operates out of Parnell, Mo., and includes Steven; his son, Ryan; and son-in-law, Kelly. RKS Seeds is noted among growers for their solid reputation and trustworthy way of doing business. “We have developed a venture that I’m even prouder of today than when it started in the late 1970’s,” states Steven.
RKS Seeds understands the value of investing in their dealership to serve growers in the most timely and dependable way – this includes additional seed storage, seed treating capabilities and product knowledge. “Our way of doing business is simple. Offer superior customer service and strive for excellence to keep customers satisfied!”
Steven chose to first start selling Hoegemeyer because it was a family owned business and feels they treat everyone like family. “They are very down to earth; have a great knowledge of breeding and in their products. That hasn’t change over the past 38 years. Hoegemeyer allows us to be ourselves and do what works best for us and our customers,” Steven adds.
RKS Seeds has great vision to continue serving the area with top products and the highest quality service. “My hope is the future RKS Seeds will include my grandchildren. This is a family business that we want to keep in the family!”
“My advice for future dealers is to show your appreciation to customers and always seek ways to serve them better!”
– Steven Cordell, RKS Seeds
Several years ago our agronomy team identified four qualities that we felt set our corn lineup apart from the competition: drought and Goss’s Wilt tolerance, more harvestable yield and genetic diversity. The 2017 growing season brought significant challenges to some areas, while customers in other areas had record yields.
We did not let this season go to waste for evaluating new products and making improvements for future years. We revisited these four points of differentiation to assess how our lineup performed.
Dry conditions plagued the northern plains early in the 2017 growing season, but timely rains alleviated the drought somewhat as the season progressed. Southeast Nebraska and northeast Kansas started the season with good moisture with drought impacting yields during pollination and grain fill. With different droughts in different areas of the western corn belt, we had a good chance to evaluate drought performance across much of our lineup. Below is a high level summary of how our hybrids ranked in drought environments.
A high-level look at the relative performance of our products specifically in drought environments below 150 bushels per acre from 2015-17.
It's noted that corn products rated 8 or 9 for drought continue to rise to the top, with still some good product performance with 7’s. While I think that farmers with drought-prone fields should plant the majority of their acres to 8’s and 9’s, planting a product rated a 7 for drought on some acres can open up some other good product options and increase genetic diversity on the farm.
Goss’s Wilt Tolerance
We haven’t seen a widespread outbreak of Goss’s Wilt since 2011. A lack of natural Goss’s Wilt pressure is good for farmers but makes it more challenging for seed companies to screen new hybrids for Goss’s Wilt tolerance. Fortunately our products are tested in special trials that are inoculated with Goss’s Wilt. From what I’ve seen from these trials, we have strong overall Goss’s Wilt tolerance in our newer products. Hoegemeyer 8414 AM stands out with a 7 score, and many of our new products carry a 6 rating, which makes them suited for Goss’s Wilt-prone fields.
More Harvestable Yield
More harvestable yield means that our products need to be able to stand and hold onto their ears until harvested. Multiple late October wind events impacted growers in Nebraska and surrounding areas in 2017. For more information on the factors that may have caused late season harvest issues, read UNL’s Cropwatch update.
Products from all seed companies were impacted by the winds but not all hybrids were affected the same. In our lineup, we had products that stood quite well against the wind, but some of the higher yielding racehorse products seemed to be the most prone to lodging and ear drop. We are taking all of this into account as we make product recommendations for 2018. Going forward, we know that growers will not be satisfied if we abandon high-yielding products for the sake of bullet-proof agronomics. Selecting products will remain a balance between top-end yield potential and agronomics, but we are committed to providing more products that strike the right balance.
2017 was an example of how genetic diversity mitigated risk from unpredictable weather events. When a weather event “picks on” one specific style of hybrid, a farmer can usually handle some problems on a percentage of acres, but not the entire farm. Several of our race horse products that were introduced in the 2014-2015 time period share a common parent, and these were among the hardest hit in our lineup by the 2017 winds.
We have several new products for 2018 that are bringing racehorse type yields with different parental backgrounds. 2018, 2019 and 2020 will usher in a lot of new genetic options across our entire lineup. Also, with full regulatory approval of Qrome™ brand products expected soon, genetic diversity will get a boost in our triple stack lineup.