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6 factors to consider when replanting corn

Jeff Caldwell 05/02/2012 @ 3:37pm Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

Spring got off to a roaring start in March. But, since then, the weather's turned cooler and damp in much of the Corn Belt, trimming planting progress and in some cases, creating the need to replant some corn acres.

So, how can you tell when to pull the plug on your corn already in the ground and go ahead with replanting? "Replant decisions in corn should be based on strong evidence that the returns to replanting will not only cover replant costs but also net enough to make it worth the effort," says Ohio State University Extension agronomist Peter Thomison. "Don't make a final assessment on the extent of damage and stand loss too quickly."

Obviously, the first step in making an informed replanting decision is to take a thorough check of your existing stand. Then, Thomison recommends moving forward only when you've considered these 6 factors:

  • Original target plant population/intended plant stand

  • Plant stand after damage

  • Uniformity of plant stand after damage

  • Original planting date

  • Possible replanting date

  • Likely replanting pest control and seed costs

The last factor can be big, especially in a year when many have speculated seed corn -- or the "right" seed corn -- may be in short supply in your area. That kind of variable can have a major influence on the potential benefit of sowing a second time around. And, don't forget about the additional costs of other inputs like pesticide and herbicide, which could be in higher demand this year, which some experts have posited could be one with higher-than-normal weed, bug and disease pressure.

"These factors must be weighed against expected replanting yield gains," Thomison says. "If after considering all the factors there is still doubt as to whether or not a field should be replanted, you will perhaps be correct more often if the field is left as-is." 

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