The time has come for some difficult decisions for Indiana farmers. Start planting corn or wait a little longer. Purdue Extension agronomist Bob Nielsen says the decision may very well come down to how many acres you have to plant.
“If I had my druthers and it was an ideal world I would probably delay planting for another week to let these soils warm up better than they are,” he told HAT. “But if I had a lot of acres to plant and not just corn, but maybe a lot of acres to soybeans to boot, and it’s the end of April, I think I’d go ahead and get started even though soil temperatures aren’t maybe as ideal as we want them. But they’re certainly bordering on the acceptable at this point.”
Now there are forecasts for cooler weather the next couple of weeks, another reason to wait, but Nielsen says, “Certainly germination is going to slow. Emergence is going to be slow, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to have a bad stand of corn, so I think you just need to understand that fact, that it’s going to be a slow emergence is the forecast is correct, and there’s a somewhat higher risk that with more calendar days to emerge you’re simply exposing that crop to a longer time period of potential stresses. As long as you understand that risk and are willing to accept it then go ahead and start planting. I just don’t want people to hit the ground and plant and then be surprised that the corn is not coming up very fast.”
Nielsen adds you can certainly wait another week if the acres you have can be planted in less than a week’s time.
Purdue Extension advises if you go ahead and plant now remember best agronomic practices, especially when planting quickly after anhydrous ammonia applications. Listen to HAT audio for Nielsen’s thoughts on that:Nielsen anhydrous-planting
“Because weather delayed field operations there’s now a small window between pre-plant anhydrous ammonia application and planting,” Purdue Extension agronomist Tony Vyn said. “A rush to plant corn soon after this typical pre-plant nitrogen application has an element of risk associated with it.”
The first roots of corn planted directly over the bands where a full rate of anhydrous ammonia was applied can suffer ammonia toxicity, especially in sandy and cool soils, areas where anhydrous was applied shallowly and when there has been little rainfall between the nitrogen application and seedling emergence.
Vyn encouraged growers to pay close attention to where they apply the fertilizer and to keep it away from the intended cornrows. Real-time kinetic (RTK) guidance systems can help farmers both apply fertilizer and plant more precisely, and this can be especially advantageous when there is less than 10 days between pre-plant anhydrous ammonia application and planting.
Another tip Vyn had for growers was to avoid doing unnecessary tillage just for the sake of being in the fields.
“There’s no sense in doing recreational tillage two weeks before planting,” he said. “The best time is a day before planting, so wait until you’re prepared to plant to do tillage. The only reason to do early tillage is if it’s your only weed control, but there are a lot of other weed-control measures.”
The forecast for the next 10 days calls for below-normal temperatures with highs in the 50s and lows in the high-30s to low-40s.
“These temperatures are what we would have expected a couple of weeks ago, and that’s the time when farmers would have started planting in other years,” Nielsen said.
Follow along with agronomic updates throughout the planting, growing and harvest seasons by visiting Purdue Extension’s Chat ‘n Chew Café website.
Source: Purdue Ag Communications