Optimum 2015 Planting Strategy
May 01Optimum 2015 Planting Strategy
Here are a few timely standard practices to remember when getting started this planting season. I can’t stress enough how important the role of seed to soil contact plays on yields. It’s imperative to always ensure seed is planted into good moisture, at a uniform depth, and with uniform spacing. Soil conditions at planting time contribute significantly to the formula of success for top yields. Do not plant when soils are too wet or cold; cool conditions during planting can inflict significant stress on corn and soybean seed and cause issues with emergence and seedling health. Seed is particularly susceptible to cold stress during imbibition (when the seedling absorbs soil water). As a rule of thumb, it is generally recommended that soil temperatures reach a minimum of 50°F (10°C) and are climbing before planting corn. Since soil temperatures fluctuate during the day, remember that a soil temperature at about 11:00 AM generally represents the average temperature of the soil profile (0-4 inches) over the course of the day. There is no question that soybeans also respond favourably to early planting dates; however, soil conditions must be ideal at planting in order to capture the maximum yield response. Like corn, soybeans can germinate when soil temperatures climb above 50°F, but the ideal soil temperature for soybean germination is over 70°F (21°C).
Once late April / early May have arrived, most growers follow the policy of planting as long as the ground is fit. However, avoiding planting right into a cold front or with the arrival of cold rain / snow can reduce cold shock on the seed. If planting in fields with challenging amounts of residue, consider using strip-tillage or use a row cleaner on the planter to help the soil warm faster.
Above all, be SAFE. Far too many farm injuries happen at planting time because it’s busy, hectic, and chaotic. Take time to enjoy the accomplishments of preparing your next big crop.
Dave Emery, CCA-ON
Maizex Seeds District Sales Manager, Southwestern Ontario