Starting Spring Planting

Apr 17, 2023

The spring season kicked off this past week with 80 degrees sun and dry weather. We saw planters, tillage equipment, sprayers and anhydrous all running this past week. Field conditions were very good for planting and many producers even skipped using a field cultivator in corn to maintain soil moisture. I was impressed by how mellow the ground was and in no-till situations I did not see too much trouble with seed to soil contact. As long as the ground is not very hard the planters were still getting seed 2-2.5 inches deep. Moisture was probably everyone’s biggest concern as things were starting to dry out but now as we caught a rain our next concern is cool and wet weather.

The past few days I have had conversations on imbibitional chilling. This is when the first intake of water on the seed is very cold. This leads to poor seedling vigor and uneven emergence. Optimum soil temperature for planting corn is 50 degrees and rising and we had those conditions last week. Over the weekend with the cold rain/sleet mix soil temperatures dropped below 50 but I’m not very concerned because there was moisture in the ground when the seed was planted, and that moisture was warm. We need to remember that soil is a very good insulator, and the water 2 inches down would have been 50-60 degrees on Saturday when the seed was planted. Unless seed was planted into completely dry dirt the first drink of water should not have been that cold rain we got over the weekend. This was a good reason why many producers decided to no-till and maintain that moisture in the soil profile.

The weather conditions coming this week have me more concerned because the ground temperature going into the next rain is going to be 10 degrees or more lower than last week. I could potentially see issues with planting before this next weather event so make sure field conditions are good before trying. Again, it’s important to get planted but it’s still too early to plant in the mud right before precipitation. Reach out to any of us at SFG and we can help with the right planting decisions.