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Purdue worksheet helps farmers make corn replant decision

Agriculture.com Staff 05/22/2006 @ 10:20am

A worksheet that takes some of the emotion out of the decision to replant corn by utilizing yield and dollar amount estimates is now available to corn producers.

Bob Nielsen of Purdue University's agronomy department designed the "Estimating Yield and Dollar Returns from Corn Replanting" worksheet to help producers and farm managers struggling with flooded or saturated fields make decisions about whether or not to replant their corn crops.

As Indiana has dealt with heavy rains throughout the spring season, Nielsen said many farmers may replant their crops based heavily on the emotion of seeing drowned fields, rather than basing their decisions on economic advantages.

"Deciding to replant a stand of corn should be based on a number of criteria but, unfortunately, the major influencing factor is often the emotion associated with looking out the kitchen window at the damaged field every morning," he said.

Nielsen's worksheet, which can be downloaded from the Purdue Agriculture Web site, requires the grower to provide cropping history information. Information should include the original seeding rate and planting dates, yield estimates under "normal" conditions, the projected market price at the time of harvest, and the expected replanting date and costs.

The worksheet then takes that information and helps the grower "determine the damaged field's current yield potential if left untouched, its replant yield potential and the dollar returns, if any, from replanting the field," Nielsen said.

When making the decision whether or not to replant a corn crop, Nielsen points out that it is important to take many factors into account.

"Recognize that the expected replanting date may be quite late given the amount of rainfall these fields have received in recent days, the uncertain rainy forecast for the remainder of this week and the uncertain time required for these fields to dry enough to allow replanting," Nielsen said.

He also said it is important to consider that even if the projected economic returns are suitable for replanting, there is no guarantee of success.

"Late-planted fields will pollinate during late summer when high temperatures and moisture deficits are more common," Nielsen said. "Late-planted fields are often more attractive to late flights of European corn borer."

Nielsen said the benefits the worksheet provides make it worth the time it takes to complete.

"Taking time to work through the steps of the replanting worksheet will help clarify the economic returns, or losses, to replanting and reduce the influence of emotions in this important crop management decision," he said.

Due to the late replanting season, Nielsen said producers also need to decide whether or not to plant shorter-season hybrids. Research has shown, however, that delayed planting will result in hybrids maturing in fewer than expected growing degree days from planting.

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