Planting It Right, The First Time
April 13, 2021
Dale Longwell, Certified Crop Advisor & Seed Specialist
With the early warm up the first week of April, I saw a few planters rolling… mostly soybeans, but some corn. South of the Ohio River, I feel it was appropriate to get started. I will say, for most of Indiana, waiting wasn’t a bad option.
The corn and soybeans that I did see getting planted were on bottom fields and gravel soils. It will warm up quickly and potentially suffer moisture stress mid-season, even on an average rainfall year. I think waiting to plant, until you know conditions are right, is always the best option.
Looking at the long term weather is important. Look for the cold snaps that will hinder seedling development and be potential for seedling blight and other diseases. The hardest thing to do is to see a forecast of rain, and park the planter on a sunny day. Most times, the crop planted 2-3 days before a rain fairs better than the one planted the day before, or the hour before, a big cold rain.
Planting when the conditions are not right creates a lot of stress for you and your crop. A crop that struggles to get started usually struggles all season long. You’ll be stressed if things don’t emerge evenly, with questions like “Should I replant?” and “Do I have enough stand for maximum yield?”. Planting too early results in wear and tear on equipment and the extra fuel and labor of having to go back to re-do what you could have waited to do right, the first time.
April is not the time to push conditions if things are not right, that time comes at least mid-May. We all want to get started, but just remember the yield and the planting dates of year’s past… June planted corn and high yields with average moistures and a year you all remember, 2012 March planting and a drought.
Like Steve mentioned, be ready to go at a moment’s notice! Be safe this spring.
Dale Longwell, CCA & Seed Specialist