I don’t know about you, but spring planting season is probably the part of the job I enjoy the most. As we move from winter into spring and it starts to green up, getting out in the field again is always a great feeling. So far, the spring of 2016 has brought above average temperatures and the majority of March has felt more like April aside from a few snow events. With these warm temperatures, producers may be thinking about getting the planters rolling a bit early. Here are a few considerations and watch outs for spring planting.
Soil Temperature @ 50 Degrees: A good rule of thumb for when to start planting corn is when soils reach an average soil temperature of 50 ͦ or above every morning at 7:00 A.M. for a week. When soils are cooler than 50 ͦ typically emergence will be delayed for a few weeks. The longer the seed sits in cold soils the more potential there is for exposure to pathogens, reducing the chance of germination.
Imbibitional chilling: Imbibitional chilling occurs when seed is planted, begins to germinate and then the soil temperature drops below 50⁰. This will typically happen if seeds are planted into soil above 50 ͦ and then we catch a cold rain, freezing rain or a snow storm that brings to soils temperature down. Imbibitional chilling causes cells to rupture leading to corkscrewing of the mesocotyl. This can either delay emergence or possibly inhibit emergence if the coleoptile can’t get through the soil surface. Other symptoms of imbibitional chilling include aborted radicles, proliferation of seminal roots, delayed seedling growth and potential for diseases pathogens to attack the young seedling.
Sidewall compaction: Planting into fields that are too wet will typically cause sidewall compaction. Even waiting an additional 24 to 48 hours can reduce the potential for sidewall compaction. Remember we only get one chance to plant most fields so waiting for soils to dry out can make a big difference in a fields yield potential.
Planting season only comes once a year and there is nothing more important for setting ourselves up for maximum yields than getting a good even stand on all of our acres. Waiting until soils are fit to plant, waiting to start planting until soil temperatures are sufficient, and delaying planting if the forecast calls for cool wet weather are all good tips to avoid early season problems in our fields.
For more information about considerations for early planted corn, check out our agronomy article here. If you have any questions feel free to contact your local Hoegemeyer DSM or Agronomist.