With the cold temperatures and uncooperative weather, there will only be one chance at planting to do it right. Seeds need adequate moisture and good seed to soil contact for even plant emergence. When planting in cooler soils, it is better to plant corn seed a little deeper to ensure a good stand. Soil temperatures and moisture are going to be more consistent the deeper the seed is planted. Plant corn at least 1 ½” to 2” deep. To check seed spacing, unearth 4-5 seeds in a row and measure between the seeds. You may find the chart helpful in calculating populations.
April corn planting in cooler soils can result in chilling injury to seeds. This is often a result of a dramatic drop in soil temperature and moisture event 12-24 hours after planting. This injury occurs when seeds absorb cold water the first few days after planting, damaging plant cells. This can disrupt the seeds germination or early stages of growth. This injury can also open young plants up to fungal and bacterial infections. We need to be cautious of this potential injury, but after the 24 hour window when plants first start to imbibe water, the threat is significantly reduced.
Cold spells and moisture events are common through the middle of April, but farmers who push early when soil conditions are right for planting often have an advantage in early growth and root development after a cold spell when compared to farmers who wait for the rain and then plant too soon in poor field conditions. Though we may feel rushed to plant between rain events, try to avoid planting before field conditions are dry enough to limit compaction from heavy equipment. Soil compaction creates emergence problems, early season root development issues, and a difficulty for rain or irrigation water infiltration over the summer.
Over the coming weeks, Norder Supply Agronomists will be out helping growers set planters and monitor changing field conditions to achieve optimum plant emergence. At Norder Supply, our mission is to assist our customers in achieving maximum net return per acre by delivering unparalleled agronomic advice and best in class customer service.