Indiana corn: Tough planting decisions ahead

decrease font size  Resize text   increase font size       Printer-friendly version of this article Printer-friendly version of this article

For Indiana farmers with a lot of acreage to plant, two Purdue Extension agronomists say it’s probably time to start planting corn while keeping in mind best agronomic practices.

Until recent days, cold temperatures and wet soils kept growers from field operations, including tillage, fertilizer applications and planting. A few warm days at the end of last week had farmers out in full force, but with a cold extended forecast, many will have to decide whether to go ahead and plant corn or wait for warmer temperatures.

According to Bob Nielsen, it depends in large part on the amount of acreage a farmer has to plant.

“If you farm small enough to where you have less than a week’s worth of planting, I’d wait another week and let the soils warm up,” he said. “But clearly, if I had thousands of acres to plant, I’d go ahead this week if soils are fit. Some of these soils are drier than what we would expect, but it’s a field-by-field situation.”

The forecast for the next 10 days calls for below-normal temperatures with highs in the 50s and lows in the high-30s to low-40s.

“These temperatures are what we would have expected a couple of weeks ago, and that’s the time when farmers would have started planting in other years,” Nielsen said. “I think planting now is a moderate risk – nothing more than normal. If I had a lot of acres, I’d risk it.”

Part of the risk in planting when it’s cold is that corn might not emerge quickly enough, leaving it vulnerable to pests. The minimum temperature for corn development is 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

According to the April 21 Indiana Crop Progress and Condition Report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, only 1 percent of Indiana corn had been planted as of April 20, compared with a five-year average of 14 percent planted by the same date. Farmers in the state had only 3.7 days suitable for fieldwork in the two weeks prior to the report.

The optimum window for planting corn in Indiana is typically April 20 to May 10, with that window opening a week earlier in the far southern part of the state and a week later in the far north.

But while Nielsen urged farmers with a lot of acreage to go ahead and start planting, he and Purdue Extension agronomist Tony Vyn were quick to point out that farmers need to remember best agronomic practices – especially when it comes to planting quickly on the heels of anhydrous ammonia applications.

“Because weather delayed field operations there’s now a small window between pre-plant anhydrous ammonia application and planting,” Vyn said. “A rush to plant corn soon after this typical pre-plant nitrogen application has an element of risk associated with it.”

The first roots of corn planted directly over the bands where a full rate of anhydrous ammonia was applied can suffer ammonia toxicity, especially in sandy and cool soils, areas where anhydrous was applied shallowly and when there has been little rainfall between the nitrogen application and seedling emergence.

Vyn encouraged growers to pay close attention to where they apply the fertilizer and to keep it away from the intended cornrows. Real-time kinetic (RTK) guidance systems can help farmers both apply fertilizer and plant more precisely, and this can be especially advantageous when there is less than 10 days between pre-plant anhydrous ammonia application and planting.

Another tip Vyn had for growers was to avoid doing unnecessary tillage just for the sake of being in the fields.

“There’s no sense in doing recreational tillage two weeks before planting,” he said. “The best time is a day before planting, so wait until you’re prepared to plant to do tillage. The only reason to do early tillage is if it’s your only weed control, but there are a lot of other weed-control measures."

Prev 1 2 Next All

Buyers Guide

Doyle Equipment Manufacturing Co.
Doyle Equipment Manufacturing prides themselves as being “The King of the Rotary’s” with their Direct Drive Rotary Blend Systems. With numerous setup possibilities and sizes, ranging from a  more...
A.J. Sackett Sons & Company
Sackett Blend Towers feature the H.I.M, High Intensity Mixer, the next generation of blending and coating technology which supports Precision Fertilizer Blending®. Its unique design allows  more...
R&R Manufacturing Inc.
The R&R Minuteman Blend System is the original proven performer. Fast, precise blending with a compact foot print. Significantly lower horsepower requirement. Low inload height with large  more...
Junge Control Inc.
Junge Control Inc. creates state-of-the-art product blending and measuring solutions that allow you to totally maximize operating efficiency with amazing accuracy and repeatability, superior  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The flagship blending system for the Layco product line is the fully automated Layco DW System™. The advanced technology of the Layco DW (Declining Weight) system results in a blending  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The LAYCOTE™ Automated Coating System provides a new level of coating accuracy for a stand-alone coating system or for coating (impregnating) in an automated blending system. The unique  more...
John Deere
The DN345 Drawn Dry Spreader can carry more than 12 tons of fertilizer and 17.5 tons of lime. Designed to operate at field speeds up to 20 MPH with full loads and the G4 spreader uniformly  more...
Force Unlimited
The Pro-Force is a multi-purpose spreader with a wider apron and steeper sides. Our Pro-Force has the most aggressive 30” spinner on the market, and is capable of spreading higher rates of  more...
BBI Spreaders
MagnaSpread 2 & MagnaSpread 3 — With BBI’s patented multi-bin technology, these spreaders operate multiple hoppers guided by independent, variable-rate technology. These models are built on  more...

Comments (0) Leave a comment 

e-Mail (required)


characters left

Smooth Wall Grain Bins

Meridian’s SmoothWall bins are the ultimate storage bins, used to handle and store fertilizer, grain, feed and seed, and extend ... Read More

View all Products in this segment

View All Buyers Guides

Feedback Form
Feedback Form