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Delayed corn planting

By David G. Hallauer
Meadowlark District Extension Agent, crops and soils/horticulture

Delayed Corn Planting--that was the same title in this column one year ago this week (April 18). Sometimes history repeating itself isn't all that humorous.

So here we sit again in mid-April with almost all of our corn yet to plant. Is that a problem? Fortunately, KSU research would indicate it really isn't--at least for another month.

Remember that soil temperatures haven't risen all that quickly this spring. Even if you had been able to get in, you may have seen some problems from the cool soils and plentiful moisture.

Second, KSU recommendations for corn planting dates here in Northeast Kansas extend until May 5 to 10. Even then, those dates are designed to provide a planting window through which we wouldn't expect yield loss from planting on that date. Even with larger acreages, a nice stretch of weather would result in planting finishing up rather quickly. Hold off on worrying until mid-May.

If by chance the weather roulette wheel continues coming up moisture, and we extend planting in to early June, we're looking at anywhere from a 10 to 50 percent yield reduction. We also might consider a hybrid switch. Let's get it planted in early May and call it good, OK?

And if you fear you're behind, consider these two statistics: 1) in Northeast Kansas, dryland and irrigated corn planted in late May tended to have lower yields. However, many years with earlier planting dates had yields that were just as low. 2) corn planting was delayed some last year, too--and few complained about the resulting yields.

Dandelion

If dandelions were an efficient biofuel, I'd be sitting on a gold mine (literally.). Even the moles don't keep them at bay..

If your dandelions are back, mark the calendar to treat this fall. Fall treatments tend to be far more effective. Control efforts late in the growing season when the plant is putting a focus on storing winter food in large tap roots can be highly successful--much more than in spring.

You might have missed that fall application window. Fortunately, a short window is available this spring for your weed control efforts. Work from Purdue indicates that spring applications, during or right after the first flush of flowers can be successful. Waiting too long will result in a waste of time and herbicide as you simply burn off top growth, leaving the plant-producing tap root in place.

Be very careful with spring applications from an offsite damage perspective as well. Spring plant growth is tender and vulnerable to damage. Combine that with warmer temperatures and higher wind speeds and any offsite movement of a chemical, even through vapor movement, can be particularly damaging. Be very careful when using herbicide applications in the spring, particularly near redbud trees, grapes, and tomatoes. Spot treatments are often better than blanket applications.

If a herbicide is used, combination products that contain 2,4-D; MCPP; and dicamba are recommended. Example trade names include Trimec, Weed Out, Weed-B-Gon, and Weed Free Zone.



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