Planting conditions

Planting Conditions | Cold, Wet Early Spring

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Last year, corn planting began this week south of our Mooresville location. Not this year. Soil temperatures remain at about freezing. Spring is just a little late this year. We would all rather have good planting conditions and good corn stands than the replant disaster that we experienced in 2017. Spring will come, and it will come quickly as May approaches. Hopefully, when spring arrives, it will stay and temperatures will stay warm.

Now is the time to prepare. 

When planting conditions are right with soil temperatures above 50 and a forecast for air temperatures that will maintain or increase the soil temperature, you will want to get the crop planted quickly. As we get into late April and May, the average temperature begins to jump. Average May temperatures are about 11 degrees higher than the average April temperature. Soil temperature and moisture dictate how quickly corn will emerge. Look to the forecast 36 to 48 hours after planting; this is the best predictor of soil temperature. About all of us have a favorite weather app or website. Choose one with a 10-day forecast feature and get familiar with it. I use Weather Underground and review it daily.

Soil moisture temperature 36 hours after planting determines whether corn emerges evenly and has a huge impact on yield potential. Soil moisture must be at or above 55 degrees at 36 hours after planting or yield will be reduced. In this period, each degree of temperature is critical. If soil moisture falls only a few degrees below 55 degrees, yield potential will be cut dramatically.

Be patient, spring will be here soon.

2018 Soil Temperature Readings
(readings taken between 7 and 10 am, at 1.5 to 2-inch depth)

  • 4/12 – 45.1
  • 4/14 – 56.5
  • 4/15 – 53.4
  • 4/16 – 43.5
  • 4/16 – 43.5
  • 4/17 – 40.5
  • 4/19 – 52.5
  • 4/20 – 52.0
  • 4/21 – 50.5
  • 4/23 – 51.0
  • 4/24 – 50
  • 4/25 – 49.3

Contact Reynolds Agronomy team.

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