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6 Tips for a Strong 2013 Corn Crop

April 17, 2013
spring planting

As planting nears, here are some good agronomic goals to set.

By Tracy Turner, Ohio State University

The No. 1 tip for getting your corn off on a good start this year is planting it during the optimal corn-planting time, which in some parts of Ohio typically starts as early this week, an Ohio State University Extension expert says.

Getting corn planted in southern Ohio between April 10 and May 10 and in northern Ohio between April 15 and May 10 - the optimal planting times for corn in Ohio - is just one of several key measures growers can take to better ensure they avoid irreversible mistakes that could result in lower yield potential, said Peter Thomison, an OSU Extension agronomist.

OSU Extension is the statewide outreach arm of Ohio State University's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

"We encourage planting at the recommended times because this is historically when you get the best yields," Thomison said. "Planting later than these times historically has resulted in yield loss, in some cases a 30-bushel-per-acre reduction in yield.

"Growers historically could see a loss of a bushel to a bushel and a half in yield loss for each late planted day."

But some growers might be hesitant to plant early this year based on experiences many had with planting delays and drought the past two years, he said. For example, wet weather conditions caused planting delays for many growers in 2011, but many were still able to produce good and, in some cases, better crops.

For some growers who planted early in 2012, crops were at critical development stages when drought conditions were most severe, with numerous 100-degree or higher days in early July when crops were pollinating, Thomison said. That compares to growers who, because of planting delays, got their crops in later and had better crops.

"As a result, some growers may be a little gun shy at planting early this year or may be more careful and not plant as early as they typically would because of what happened the last two years," he said. "It's human nature to reflect on what's transpired in the past couple of years versus the historical perspective because of concerns many may have that we're experiencing more weather extremes."

But the generic recommendations are that if growers have fields that have good soil conditions, are dry and suitable for planting, with warming temperatures over the next week to 10 days, it behooves them to start planting, Thomison said.

"Mistakes made during crop establishment are usually irreversible and can put a ceiling on a crop's yield potential before the plants have even emerged," he said. "Following these recommendations can help growers minimize their risk."

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