April 28, 2020
David Woodruff, Seed Specialist
Patience is a virtue but is not always easy, especially when it comes to planting season. With last year’s record-breaking late planting season still fresh in our minds, it can be tempting to try to catch that first planting window by planting a lot of your acres in a short time. With some of the planting rigs available today that can mean planting a large percentage of our crop in just a few days.
While I encourage my growers to take advantage of early planting windows, I also advise they make sure conditions are right. Last year notwithstanding, early planting can often be a home run or a strike out. Even though corn and soybeans planted early in good growing/emergence conditions have the best yield potential, many growers (including myself) were very surprised last year how good yields were for such late planted crops.
It is still a good idea to look for warm soil temps of 50 degrees plus. That seed’s first absorption of water is critical. A cold drink can cause seedling shock, delayed emergence, and an uneven or unsuccessful stand. When conditions are not ideal, planting into a warming weather trend can go a long way in helping have a successful stand as opposed to planting in what may be good conditions today but with several days of cold temps in the forecast. Also, plant at least 1.5 inches deep, with 1.75 to 2 inches being even better. The soil temperature is more stable at 1.75 to 2 inches as opposed to a shallow depth. That can make a lot of difference on a night that temps dip down into the 30s.
Also remember, as profit margins tighten, having to do something twice does not save you any money. Even if your seed has free replant, that second trip across the field with the planter, possible additional tillage and sprayer passes, time, fuel, and equipment wear, all cost more dollars. Shoot to do it once and do it right.
Be Safe In The Field This Spring,
David R. Woodruff