Corn planting delayed
By David G. Hallauer
Meadowlark Extension District Agent
While the moisture has been welcome, the one thing it has done is slow corn planting progress. Should we be nervous? Probably not—unless we can’t get in to the field until mid-May (not likely). Even so, what about “speeding up”—even just a little—to try and get the crop in the ground in as timely a manner as possible?
It might work out for you OK. Multiple studies from various universities over the last 15 years would indicate that though stand variability increases as seed drop accuracy decreases, many times the increased variability/decreased accuracy results in little yield decline. Does that give you permission to drive as fast as you like?
If your planting speed affects stand uniformity, you may not see a big problem—as long as the final population is within 15 percent of the desired population. Do what you can to achieve uniform stands, but as long as the typical spacing between plants is within 2 to 3 inches of the desired plant spacing and the final population is not substantially lower than what was desired, the plant will likely compensate appropriately on its own.
If the planting speed affects emergence to the point of delaying emergence within the row, trouble can occur. If one out of six plants is delayed by two leaf stages, yields can be reduced 4 percent. Delay those plants by four leaf stages and yields can be reduced 8 percent. Maybe not much, but it is something to consider.
Make sure your planter is well adjusted and operated in the range indicated by the owner’s manual. Oklahoma State Machinery Systems Engineer Randy Taylor suggests a 5 to 6 miles per hour range. The appropriate speed will no doubt be affected by seed bed conditions, as well as the way the planter is adjusted and the attachments it has hanging on it. For that reason, you’ll need to get off and check on occasion to see how it’s planting. Ensuring you are getting seed placed where it should (don’t forget depth), can save you yield loss down the line.