INDIANAPOLIS — The most important time in a plant’s life begins at planting. A high-yielding corn crop starts with even spacing and, more important, even emergence. Before farmers kick the tires on the planter, Mycogen Seeds agronomist Andy Robinson recommends the following tips to get the season off to a strong start.
1. Seedbed preparation and planting conditions. A smooth planting season starts with uniform and firm soil, adequate soil moisture and temperature, and clean fields. A corn seed may be planted at the correct depth but still not emerge at the same time as its neighbors. This may be caused by poor seed-to-soil contact due to excessive residue in the row, sidewall smearing, open furrows or a seed exposed to air pockets underground. These conditions are most likely to occur when field conditions were too wet for planting. Uneven emergence can also be attributed to poor seed-to-soil contact stemming from a planter not being set properly.
2. Seed depth. For uniform stand establishment, it’s generally recommended to plant corn approximately 1.75 to 2 inches into the soil—and to strive for consistent seed depth across the field. Consider soil types before planting. Lighter soils tend to dry out quickly, so placing the seed deeper allows access to soil moisture. In heavier soils, plant shallower to allow the soil to warm and allow oxygen in.
3. Soil temperature. Rushing to the field to plant too soon can cause stand establishment challenges. Wait for ground temperature to consistently reach 50 F. Emergence could take more than three weeks when soil temperatures are 50 F to 55 F, but fewer than seven days when temperatures exceed 70 F.
Additionally, cool, wet soils are welcoming environments for pathogens that contribute to seedling blights and root rots, such as rhizoctonia, fusarium, pythium, diplodia and penicillium. These pathogens are commonly present in the soil. Waiting until soil temperatures increase prior to planting will reduce the risk for such early season diseases. Seed treatments, too, can help reduce the risk of seedling disease issues.
4. Seed spacing. Proper seed spacing can make a significant impact on a corn stand and yield potential. Even spacing allows each corn plant adequate space to emerge, grow and receive proper nutrients throughout the growing season. Planter technologies have improved seed spacing tremendously, but keep the following considerations in mind.
· Singulation: Farmers should ensure the proper settings for singulation. First by matching seed size to the seed disk setting, and second, by using the right vacuum or air pressure.
· Delivery: Even with the right singulation, a farmer can still have poor seed delivery. Farmers should work with their equipment dealer to consider a controlled delivery system to regulate the delivery of the seed. And farmers should slow down when planting, depending on the roughness of the seedbed.
· In-furrow: If planting at faster speeds, farmers may want to consider using a seed firmer, so the seed doesn’t bounce or move within the furrow. If conditions are wet or sticky, be sure there isn’t soil buildup, which could cause the seed to move down the furrow.
5. Work with local advisers. Successful planting takes a team. Farmers should work with their Mycogen Seeds sales representative or agronomic expert, local retailer or crop consultant, and local equipment adviser to complete a plan for planting and do thorough equipment checks. That positions the farm for the best chance at success—and a high-yielding crop.For more information on these or other agronomic topics, visit Mycogen.com/Agronomy.
About Mycogen Seeds
Mycogen Seeds offers leading genetics in corn, soybeans, silage corn, sunflowers and canola. A seed company of Dow AgroSciences LLC, Mycogen Seeds maintains a robust global research and development program to bring growers high-performance genetics with the latest trait technologies. Mycogen Seeds is committed to helping growers be better acre after acre with dependable seed, smart ideas and hard work. For more information about Mycogen® brand products, visit Mycogen.com or follow Mycogen Seeds on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
About DowDuPont Agriculture Division
DowDuPont Agriculture, a business division of DowDuPont (NYSE: DWDP), combines the strengths of DuPont Pioneer, DuPont Crop Protection and Dow AgroSciences. Together, the DowDuPont Agriculture Division provides growers around the world with the most complete portfolio in the industry, developed through a robust research pipeline across germplasm, biotech traits and crop protection. DowDuPont Agriculture is committed to delivering innovation, helping growers increase productivity and ensuring food security for a growing global population. DowDuPont intends to separate the DowDuPont Agriculture Division into an independent, publicly traded company. More information can be found at www.dow-dupont.com.
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