University of Minnesota Extension, Stearns County News
May 7, 2014
Source: Dan Martens, Extension Educator
University of Minnesota Extension
Stearns, Benton & Morrison Counties
Consider Corn & Soybean Strategies
By Dan Martens, University of Minnesota Extension
FOLEY, Minn. (05/02/2014)
Jeff Coulter, U of M Extension corn specialist, shared some information related to weather conditions and corn planting prospects.
Several U of M studies from 1988 to 2003 and from 2009 to 2011 - including sites at Lamberton, Morris, and Waseca found that corn yields averaged 92 to 95% of the maximum when planting occurred by May 20. These studies were funded by the Minnesota Corn Growers Association.
Yield advantages associated with early planting typically are greatest when there is warm weather and rapid growing degree day accumulation between earlier and later planting date opportunities. Given the limited growing degree days that have accumulated since April 21, there probably wouldn’t be much difference between planting the last week of April and the middle of May this year. That’s probably usually the case when spring stays wet and cold from early on.
Coulter also writes, “Although timely planting is important, it is equally important to avoid tillage and planting when soils are too wet. In general, a field is fit for seedbed preparation when soil at tillage depths crumbles when pressed together rather than forming a ball.
Sidewall smearing can occur when double-disc openers cut through wet fine-textured soil, resulting in compacted soil around the seed that is difficult for nodal roots to penetrate. In addition, seed furrows can open up, after fine-textured soil dries following wet conditions at planting, resulting in poor seed-to-soil contact and poor stand establishment.
We also know that sometimes we don’t get ideal planting conditions and we have to do the best we can with what we get. Coulter says that, a general guideline for growers in Minnesota is to stick with the planned full season hybrids until around May 21-25 based on optimal yields and returns. The grain might be a couple points wetter in the fall; but the yield counts in most cases.
Coulter’s article can be found by doing a website search for Minnesota Extension Crop News or by calling our County Extension Office. If things get later, like they did last year, he gives guidelines for shifting to earlier varieties at some point. This isn’t a new situation to be in, in our part of Minnesota; and your past experience and common sense about things counts a lot.
Seth Naeve, U of M Extension soybean specialist offered the following comments. We’re probably not planting soybeans anytime soon. But rainy weather might give us more time to consider strategies as we see how spring unfolds.