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Don’t Push the Panic Button!

04/26/2013 @ 6:04am

Even though spring planting has been delayed by unseasonably wet and cold weather, there’s no need for corn farmers to push the panic button. We’re still within the window of achieving optimal corn yields, so work your original crop plan. Planting corn through May 20 is considered ideal in Iowa.

Research shows that hybrids adjust to later planting dates. Adapted full-season corn hybrids can compensate somewhat for later plantings. As planting is delayed, hybrids shorten the time between planting and silking. Full-season hybrids almost always outperform short-season hybrids, so Iowa State University Extension corn specialist Roger Elmore says farmers really don’t need to consider switching maturities until May 25. 

With a month of optimal planting dates remaining, there’s no need to rush into wet fields. The short-term forecast calls for drier, breezier weather. The 10-day forecast calls for sunshine with temperatures averaging around 70°, so field conditions should improve greatly over the next two weeks. 

Let soil temperatures and soil conditions – not the calendar – dictate planting dates. At this point, fields are not yet fit for planting. Your yield potential will be more negatively affected by planting in wet soils than by waiting even a couple of weeks for better conditions. 

Corn planted into wet soils will be prone to problems throughout the growing season.  The Top 10 reasons to avoid soil compaction include: stunted plant growth; slow infiltration of water and/or ponding; high surface runoff under normal or light rainfall; poor root system development, or rootless corn; and even nutrient deficiency. Potassium deficiency is caused by corn roots not being able to take up potassium from compacted soils.

 Remember: The majority of yield is determined during planting. Patience is key right now. Good things come to those who wait for the right seedbed conditions!

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