Until soil conditions are right, don’t throw your expensive corn seed into the mud.
Of course, you’d like to be planting corn right now. But, with excessive water and cool temperatures your fields are more like mud pits instead of uniform, fluffy seedbeds.
Jeff Coulter, University of Minnesota Extension corn specialist, says in his state, corn planting progress is behind, but farmers should not be alarmed.
At this point, Coulter says, it would not have benefited farmers to have their seed in the ground. He said in his area, rain and even some snow has fallen in the last few weeks. “Basically we haven’t had any growing degree days,” he says. “I think right now the best place for the seed is still in the bag.”
Coulter says even though planting is delayed, warm weather is on the way for many areas. “We’re OK. If corn is planted next week, it will maximize its yield potential.”
“The biggest thing right now is for people to be ready and be organized, but to have enough self-control to sit tight long enough for this to dry out,” he says. “As soon as the soil is dry enough, just go for it and plant it.”
Coulter says if corn is planted in soggy or otherwise non-ideal soil, there could be sidewall compaction around the seed zone and the roots are going to have a hard time getting established and could lodge later in the year.
If planting is delayed several weeks, farmers should consider switching varieties. But, Coulter says, those decisions should not happen until later in May. “The fuller-season varieties tend to have higher yield potential as they are planted later, the number of days required to reach maturity reduces. They are able to compensate for the late planting by growing faster.”
With delays in planting progress, many universities are providing state-specific insight to planting decisions.
University of Minnesota
Iowa State University
University of Illinois
Michigan State University
University of Kentucky