Even though spring planting has been delayed by unseasonably wet and cold weather, there’s no need for corn farmers within the Upper Midwest to push the “panic” button. We’re still within the window of achieving optimal corn yields, so work your crop plan. Planting corn through May 15 is considered ideal in Iowa, so there’s no need to even think about switching hybrids yet.
Research shows that hybrids adjust to planting dates. Adapted full season corn hybrids can compensate somewhat for later plantings. As planting is delayed, hybrids shorten the time between planting and silking. Full-season hybrids almost always outperform short season hybrids, so Iowa State University Extension Corn Specialist Dr. Roger Elmore says farmers really don’t need to consider switching maturities until May 25.
With a good month of optimal planting dates remaining, there’s no need to rush into wet fields. The short-term forecast calls for drier, breezier weather. The 10-day forecast calls for sunshine with temperatures around 70°, so field conditions should improve greatly over the two weeks.
Let soil temperatures and soil conditions – not the calendar – dictate planting dates. At this point, fields are not yet fit for planting. Your yield potential will be more negatively affected by planting in wet soils than waiting even a couple of weeks for better conditions.
Corn planted into wet soils, however, will be prone to problems throughout the growing season such as: stunted plant growth; slow infiltration of water and/or ponding; high surface runoff under normal or light rainfall; poor root system development, or rootless corn; and even nutrient deficiency. Potassium deficiency is caused by corn roots not being able to take up potassium from compacted soils.
REMEMBER: The majority of yield is determined during planting. “Patience” is key right now. Good things come to those who wait for the right seedbed conditions!