The last time the planter wheels turned on the Corn Illustrated plots for ’08 on the central Indiana farm near Edinburgh, Ind., was May 5. Shortly afterwards, rain began, and rain and cool weather have taken over the middle part of May in this area.
Some parts of the Midwest, including pockets in northern Indiana, have been luckier, with most of the corn and a good share of soybeans planted. But judging by national figures, many of you are still waiting as well to get back in action.
The cool, wet spell is reminiscent of two years ago, when May 9 turned out to be the wrong date to plant in parts of Indiana and Ohio. That’s because 10 days of cool, wet weather set in and stands for corn planted in the day or two preceding the rain were fair to poor. Some of the fields needed replanting. It’s too early to tell if that will be the case this time. Corn planted in the first week of May while soils were warm was emerging quickly, with some up in about seven days. However, that changed as the weather drifted back toward cooler weather and a continual threat of showers, at least across the middle part of the Corn Belt.
Plans right now are to hold with the rest of the plots as scheduled. That will include a high-yield plot, with two triple-stack Herculex/Liberty hybrids. Part of that plot follows corn, part follows soybeans. Irrigation is available for that plot.
The other two include a row-spacing study and a pre-plant N application vs. sidedress application. The N has not yet been applied on the plot on the part that’s receiving the p[re-plant application. This plot is scheduled to include 30-inch rows, 15-inch rows and twin rows. If the plot goes in late, one factor that must be checked will be earlier studies on how planting date might affect the outcome of various row configurations.
“What we’re trying to do is capture more of the sunlight,” says Dave Nanda, Corn Illustrated consultant an president of Bird Hybrids, LLC, Tiffin, Ohio. Getting as much sunlight as quickly as possible could become more important the later the crop is planted. The potential to capitalize on many early growing degree days will already have passed by. However, growing degree days weren’t accumulating very rapidly anyway during the mid part of May.
Stay tuned for further updates.