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Planting delayed due to wet, cool weather

Plant for conditions, not convience

April 14, 2017
By KRISS NELSON - Farm News news editor (jknelson@frontiernet.net) , Farm News

The date on the calendar is showing the time is right for planting. But are the soil conditions?

The weather improved over last weekend, but with an extended forecast showing the potential of cool rains and lower over night temperatures, conditions may not be ideal for putting seed in the ground.

Angie Rieck-Hinz, Iowa State University Extension field agronomist said the biggest concern facing corn planting right now is soil conditions are not fit for planting.

Article Photos

Jason Dougherty, who farms between Lake City and Yetter, prepared to apply anhydrous ammonia on April 10. The Doughertys use N-Serve nitrogen stabilizer to maximize the effectiveness of nitrogen in the soil and reduce the environmental impact

"We may need some patience just a little bit longer," she said.

As far as soil temperatures, they rose up into the lower 60s thanks to the weekend's warm temperatures, but those could potentially fall back down slightly.

"We could see the soil temperatures bounce around for a week or two," said Rieck-Hinz.

Soil temperatures should be at least 50 degrees and higher for planting with the hopes of weather conditions not cooling off drastically and bringing cool rains.

Rieck-Hinz said she isn't as concerned with soil temperatures at this point as much as she is with soil conditions.

With Tuesday being the earliest planting date according to federal crop regulations, some producers more than likely began planting corn, but as far as soil conditions are concerned, Rieck-Hinz said on average, much of central Iowa is simply just not in the best shape to be planting corn yet.

"We might need patience for just a little bit longer," she said. "We have to have the best conditions possible."

Although April 11 has come and gone, Rieck-Hinz reassures there is plenty of time to get the spring planting going when conditions to improve.

When checking for field conditions, Rieck-Hinz advises going out to the field and digging down to seed depth and to be sure to check each field, even if they happen to be in close proximity of each other.

"Producers need to assess field conditions field by field and day by day. There are different rainfall patterns and soil textures out there," she said. "And adjust the planter accordingly."

For these next few weeks with potential rainfalls and cooler overnight temperatures, Rieck-Hinz reminds producers to be patient.

"Patience has to be the key," she said. "Soil conditions will be a bigger challenge within the next week to 10 days."

Maximizing seed to soil contact and optimizing the right planting depth is a goal, Rieck-Hinz said for an even and timely emergence of that corn plant.

Rieck-Hinz said producers planting in wet soils could end up experiencing side-wall smearing issues that will most likely limit root growth.

Rieck-Hinz said any rainfall in cooler weather could also be an issue on seeds that have been planted.

"Watch for the rain, we don't want seed in the soil with any potential cool rains," she said.

There is a chance the corn seed will absorb that water and won't be able to initiate shoot or root growth if conditions are too cold.

"We want to give the corn plant a chance to emerge," she said.

 
 

 

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