This planting season, “it kind of reminds me of last year.”
Rich Judge, Bayer agronomist in northeast Iowa, says this year’s planting season is similar to last year’s. There has been a pocket of wet weather. Planting progress has been delayed, leaving the landscape barren for mid-May. One factor growers need to keep an eye on is growing degree units.
“We’ve accumulated very few heat units so far. This month, we’re around 70 or 80, It takes 120 to get corn out of the ground,” Judge said. “Even corn that was planted prior to May 15th hasn’t made normal progress. As guys continue to plant, (there are) thoughts around, ‘What are my overall yield expectations?’ How long can I stay with the maturity I planned to put in the ground?’”
However, corn seed looks to be emerging properly, according to Judge.
“(From) what we’ve looked at so far, the seed is firm. The radical came out and developed, (and) the shoots pointed (in) the right direction. It looks like everything is good so far,” Judge said.
Despite positive growth measurements, Judge encourages growers to monitor their fields.
“I would continue to check those fields. As soil temps warm up and the seed starts to grow more rapidly, that will give us a better sense of: ‘Did chilling injury occur? Is pythium starting to set in on those young seedlings?’ In the next week, we need to be checking those fields closely. This past week, in northeast Iowa, we were sitting on a 47 degree soil temperature, which will give you very slow growth. This week will be the best time to pick-up on issues that might be occurring,” Judge said.
The corn crop needs warmer, drier conditions for accelerated growth. As growers watch the crop develop, Judge encourages them to understand “this year’s crop went in in some difficult conditions.”
“The soil wasn’t always as dry as we wanted, so we need to think about our nitrogen situation. ‘When did I apply that? Is that still good to go?’ Then if I see something funky in the field early on, ‘Is it nitrogen related or do I have a root development problem in areas?’ It could be one of those crops that’s going to go through the ‘ugly phase’ about halfway between your ankle and knee. It could be a little uneven and look scruffy for two to three weeks,” Judge said.
Judge adds, “This is not the time to give up hope. This crop still has a good chance.”