Another progress report on corn and soybean planting from USDA is due late this afternoon, and it may not show a lot of progress from a week ago for Indiana after another round of rainy conditions. The experts caution it’s still early in the planting season. Purdue Extension corn specialist Bob Nielsen said farmers who haven’t yet planted their crops shouldn’t rush into wet fields, and Bill Mullen with Seed Consultants agrees.
“Let’s look back. After what we encountered last year, we had a lot of sidewall compaction. We planted when the ground was tacky, and then when the rains came it just got worse. We had a lot of problems that ultimately led to some yield losses due to these early planting conditions.”
So Mullen says, “Let the fields warm up. We still have time to plant corn without really getting hit with any sort of yield loss.”
Nielsen from Purdue also says it’s not time to think about switching to shorter-maturity hybrids. Delays right now are not automatically detrimental to yield, he said. “It’s hard to be patient,” Nielsen added. “Nevertheless, I hope people will use common sense. We know we can plant a lot of crops in a short period of time. We can punch out the rest of these aces pretty quick.”
Mullen is also encouraging farmers to walk fields and be on the lookout for black cutworm. After a mild winter he is worried about an increase in insect pressure in conventional corn fields.
“I feel there’s going to be a lot more insect pressure out there, especially the ones that are going to attack the seeds like wireworms, grubs and maggots,” he told HAT. “I feel that if you don’t have an insecticide at a 500 rate, you really need to probably go in there with some sort of insecticide with your burndown just to try to hopefully get it into the soil with a little bit of protection. That’s what it takes these days to get protection against soil borne insects.”
He said conditions are ripe in some areas for soybean seedling blight to attack. It’s a spring where you are much more protected if you purchased premium seed treatments with increased fungicide content.