March 07, 2021

Field Check Up Series: Early planting and cold conditions lead to a waiting game

Many farmers are planting fields early to take advantage of increased yield potential. But early planting has its challenges. Once corn is planted, the waiting game begins for moisture and heat to coax seeds into germination and emergence.

Corn seeds require adequate moisture and a soil temperature of 50 degrees or above to germinate and between 90 and 150 growing degree days to emerge from the soil. If corn seeds are planted into cold soils that become saturated, emergence will likely be delayed or stopped entirely.

If cold, wet weather persists in Illinois, seedling emergence may be uneven, seedling vigor may be weakened, and diseases like Pythium, Rhizoctonia and Phytophthora root rot may colonize. Ultimately, these adverse conditions could cause the expected plant population to diminish.

When seedlings do finally break through the soil crust, your Channel Seedsman will conduct the Seedling Stage of the Field Check Up Series to evaluate the emergence, health and population of your fields. Knowing the state of the crop at this stage allows you to get a clear understanding of the yield potential of the emerged stand.

This stage is also an excellent time to scout for insect pressure, evaluate the effectiveness of your burndown or pre-plant weed control program and begin to make plans to fight weeds during the Vegetative Stage.

It’s important to keep a record of planting dates and note product names and maturity planted in all fields. This information will help establish the relationship between the estimated number of days needed to reach a growth stage in your planted corn products and GDD.

Safe and timely applications of herbicides and fungicides are dependent on growth stage and help determine when additional fertilizer, like side-dressed nitrogen, will continue to benefit the crop.

Visit the Agronomy Library at Channel.com for more information about GDD and managing your corn crop.

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