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Weathering a wide corn planting window

Jeff Caldwell 05/16/2012 @ 2:06pm Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

It's been a few years since the corn planting window has swung this wide open. It's been about 2 months since some farmers started planting corn, and that means there's going to be a lot of variability in this year's crop development.

This is a blessing in some ways and a curse in others, says Iowa State University (ISU) Extension agronomist Roger Elmore. First, if you incur damage from severe weather at any time in the growing season, some acres may not be as severely impacted as others.

"The advantage is if you have a hail event, droughted silking or a wind event, not all that crop is at the same growth stage at that moment," Elmore says.

But, there are potential drawbacks, too. The biggest one has to do with applying herbicide, something that could be a major topic this year with many expectations for stronger-than-normal weed pressure. The crop's likely developmental variability will put an even greater premium on good crop scouting than normal, Elmore says.

"When you're out there scouting for herbicide applications, you've got to recognize that you could have up to 3- to 4-leaf growth stages between one field and the next," he says. "That makes a huge difference in the way that herbicides affect the plants. So, be very aware when you're out there to check the stages of growth."

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