Go ahead and plant corn or wait until better weather comes next week? That was the question Iowa farmers asked themselves on April 30 and May 1 -- Monday and Tuesday of this week. Many went ahead and planted some corn, even though the weather forecast was for temperatures dropping into the 30 degree F range in central Iowa on May 2 and 3 and staying cold and wet for a few days. That cold and wet weather did indeed arrive along with snow and ice slush over a wide area of the state.
So what's going to happen to the corn seed as it sits in cold, wet soil here in early May, waiting for the weather to warm up next week so corn planting can resume? Would you have been better off leaving your seed in the bag instead of planting it last Monday and Tuesday -- April 29 and April 30? Will your stand be reduced? Will you have to replant?
Iowa State University Extension corn agronomist Roger Elmore and his graduate student Warren Pierson have studied years in the past when Iowa had rain-delayed planting. They provide the following answers and information. Elmore writes the "Corn Source" column each month in Wallaces Farmer magazine.
Recommended planting dates for corn in Iowa range between April 12 and May 18
Average recommended planting dates for corn in Iowa lie between April 12 and May 18 in order to achieve 98% to 100% yield potential, but this varies a bit on the specific location. Iowa soil temperatures are considered good for planting when they are 50 degrees F or higher because that's the temperature necessary for corn seed germination. But the weather forecast wasn't ideal for a corn seed to germinate and begin emergence the week of April 30 to May 6. Highs on May 2 and 3, 2013, were in the low 40s with lows in the mid-30s with rain, sleet and snow.
Every decision that you make influences the size and scope for corn yields. From the corn hybrid you select to the seeding rate and row width you choose. Download our FREE report over Maximizing Your Corn Yield.