As we enter the week of April 24th there has been very little corn planting progress due to wet conditions across Minnesota and Wisconsin. There were favorable weather conditions over this past weekend that allowed some areas to plant but the upcoming five day forecast is predicting a cold front along with more rain, that will likely limit activity. Last year at this time, Minnesota had completed 45% of corn planting while Wisconsin was at 10% planted. The previous 5 year average for corn planting was 11% and 3% completion respectively.
While we aren’t off to the early April start of the past two years, it is still relatively early in terms of achieving high yield potential. There has been a significant amount of research that has focused on optimum corn planting dates and maximum yields by both the University of Minnesota and University of Wisconsin. Corn planting date studies from 1988 to 2003 at Lamberton, MN show that planting dates ranging from April 21 to May 6 produced yields within 1% of the maximum (Figure 1). In another study from 2009 to 2011 at Lamberton, Morris, and Waseca, grain yield was within 1 percent of the maximum when planting occurred between April 25 and May 10 (Figure 2.). Both studies showed that there wasn’t significant yield loss until planting was delayed past mid May.
Research over several decades by Joe Lauer in Wisconsin has proven that optimum planting dates are May 1st in southern Wisconsin and May 7th in the north. Planting up to May 15th have also yielded at 95% of the earlier planting dates. While we aim for early planting, it is not a requirement for high yields.
Hybrid maturity is another common topic during delayed planting. General guidelines have been to stick to your original seed choice until May 20 to 25th to maximize economic yield.
Once weather conditions improve and soils are ready for planting it will be tempting to get the seed in the ground as soon as possible as the planting window is shortened. However it is advised to make sure conditions are right and planter settings are properly calibrated. Make sure the soil is dry enough and avoid “mudding” the seed into the ground. Sidewall compaction limits corn yield potential every year. Proper seeding depth of about 2 - 2.25 inches is typically optimal depending on soil type and moisture. Shallow planting might be tempting but can lead to poor root development and late season standability issues. Advantages of early planting can easily be lost if it results in a less than desired stand or replant.
Alfalfa seeding is currently taking place for many growers. We have evaluated several existing stands for winter kill- overall most stands came through winter very well. However, there have been a few stands that have needed replaced because of winter injury. Let us know if you need any assistance with evaluating these fields.
Although we would prefer for more favorable weather conditions at this time, we are still in line to plant for high yield potential based on historic data and trends. Stay safe and don’t hesitate to contact us if you need anything.
Note: The information in this issue is based upon field observations and third party information. Since variations in local conditions may affect the information and suggestions contained in this issue, LG Seeds disclaims legal responsibility therefore. Always read and follow label instructions.
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