Last year at this time, we had corn in the ground and emerging. That is not the case this year, but Indiana field conditions are improving. Parts of the northern Corn Belt still have snow covering the fields, but in Indiana fields are moving toward corn planting readiness. Mark Lawson, agronomist in Hendricks County with Syngenta Crop Protection, says this spring is shaping up to be something close to a normal spring, “In Central Indiana, we typically don’t start planting corn until the middle of April; and this year I think that is what it is shaping up to be.” Lawson said it is not too wet to plant in many fields, just too cold, “If I dig down 4 or 5 inches, I don’t get mud but soil that would be good to plant into if it were warmer.” He said temperatures have been so cold that it is not even worth taking soil temperatures yet, “I will start checking soil temps next week.”
He urges growers to be patient and wait for the warm up, “We don’t want to be in too big of a hurry. Soil temperatures need to come up to 55 degrees before we start sticking seed in the ground, and we are not there yet.” Corn planting typically begins first in Southwest Indiana and Lawson predicted some of those soils would be ready for crops within the next 5-10 days. The latest forecast from HAT meteorologist Rob Wasson: “Beautiful spring weather will come in Friday and Saturday. Daytime highs will warm into the upper 50s to upper 60s statewide on Saturday. Active weather sets up next week as a stationary front lingers over the area. Scattered showers will be possible on Sunday. Rain and thunderstorms will be likely Monday through Wednesday. Rainfall amounts through this period could push above one inch.”
Lawson says this weekend warm up followed by rain may pose the perfect conditions for an outbreak of wireworms, “They will start to hatch as the soils warm up, and they really like cool and wet conditions.” Lawson recommends growers check their fields for infestation and consider using a granular insecticide at planting.