If you haven't planted corn yet, you won't be able to say you were the first one in Indiana to plant corn. You may have made a very smart decision for your area, especially if soils were still on the cool, wet side. Now if your planter is still in the toolshed and you haven't thought about getting it ready yet, that's a different story. It's time!
Typically, you expect to find the first corn planted in Indiana is in the southwest corner of the state, where soil temperatures typically warm up fist. Indeed, the first report of planting came to us from Carlisle, Ind. About 80 acres was planted on sandy ground around the first of April. No doubt other fields may have been planted in the last few days of March further south.
Now comes word that the April 1 planting wouldn't be the earliest-planted corn in Indiana. There was actually corn planted on sandier soils on Tippecanoe County about one week before the end of March.
"Some farmers like to get out early, and we've got some up here who fit that category,"
says Jeff Phillips, Tippecanoe County Extension Ag educator, based in Lafayette. "I had a report that corn was planted in late March. This person likes to start early, and went ahead when he felt conditions were ready."
When you plant may depend upon more than where you live. It may also depend upon what tillage system you use. No-till fields are typically slower to warm up and dry out in the spring. Then during a dry spell later in the summer, the tables flip and no-till corn typically has the advantage.
Some farmers have switched to strip till to combat that problem. They make small ridges and create planting positions in the fall. Others are using residue wheels at planting to remove residue off the surface and get the soil to warm up quicker than it would if it was left with cover left on it.
The need to get enough bare soil to place the seed in is so important that one west-central Indiana farmer even uses row cleaners in conventional tillage. He primarily plants corn into corn stalks, and notes that the residue wheels help get corn stalks off of the area where the seed will be planted and covered.