Farmers in SW Indiana have been planting corn since early March; and according to Pioneer agronomist Dan Emmert, based in Vincennes, planting is nearing completion in his area, “I would say in Southwest Indiana we are about 78% done.” He told HAT that further north the average may be around 40% and further south in the Washington and Princeton area there are some producers who are almost done planting corn. According to the USDA crop progress report released on Tuesday afternoon, twenty-four percent of the intended corn acreage has been planted compared with 2 percent for both last year and the 5-year average. By area, 16 percent of the crop has been planted in the north; 26 percent in the central region; and 33 percent in the south. Three percent of corn acreage has emerged compared with 0 percent for both last year and the 5-year average. Nationally 17% of the corn has been planted, below what the trade had been expecting.
At the same time, the winter wheat crop is well ahead of schedule. NASS reports that fifty-seven percent of the winter wheat acreage is jointed compared with 19 percent last year and 22 percent for the 5-year average. Nine percent of the winter wheat acreage has headed compared with 0 percent for both last year and the 5-year average. Emmert says the wheat in SW Indiana is running about 3 weeks ahead of normal.
These two factors have come together to produce a unique opportunity for farmers to consider double-cropping corn after wheat, Emmert says double-cropping is normal in this area of the state, but this year things are different, “I have talked with several growers who are considering planting corn after wheat this year.” He said a lot depends on what the corn market does the next few weeks but, with an early wheat harvest, farmers are pushing the pencil to see if planting corn behind the wheat harvest will pay off. Emmert says planting corn after wheat is not something that happens very often, “This is the first time in a long time that this will occur on a large scale.”
Purdue agronomists say planting no-till corn right after wheat harvest can work. Herb Ohm, Purdue University research agronomist, says, with the crop so far ahead of schedule this spring, growers should have a better window of opportunity to plant no-till corn or soybeans immediately following wheat harvest, “Given the unusual earliness of the wheat crop along with high commodity prices, farmers should give more attention to their crops. There might be an opportunity to harvest wheat at higher moisture levels and follow it with another crop.” Preliminary data show that harvesting wheat at a moisture level of 18 percent to 20 percent does not hurt the milling and baking quality. It also prevents reduced test weight that can occur with each rainfall after wheat in the field reaches physiological maturity. Double-crop corn and soybeans require little or no seedbed preparation because, according to Ohm, it’s a fine situation for no-till. Growers, however, need to watch the weather because soil moisture is key for corn and soybean germination.[audio:https://www.hoosieragtoday.com//wp-content/uploads//2012/04/doublecropcorn.mp3|titles=Double Cropping Corn Could Happen in Indiana This Year]