It's spring in Indiana, but believe it or not, some folks are already talking about dry soils. In fact, some folks in northern Indiana are wondering if they should wait for moisture to plant corn.
Will they wait? With 70-degree F plus weather and good soil conditions, and the calendar past the halfway mark in April, some may, but most likely won't wait. However, pockets of dry weather from Delphi in Carroll County to LaGrange County leave some wondering what might lie ahead.
Hoosiers are more accustomed to dealing with wet springs instead of dry ones. And this one may yet turn out wet. Current forecasts point to cooler, wetter weather in May. But a gap in rainfall and less rain than expected from the last couple of fronts have allowed soils to dry out.
With modern planting equipment, it should still be possible to obtain good seed-to-soil contact even in drier soils. The biggest challenge may come in cloddy soils. That might be the case if the field was disked a bit heavy this spring, or chiseled or plowed a bit on the wet side this spring.
Keeton seed firmers are one of the tools useful in assuring good seed-to-soil contact. Consisting of plastic shaped like a beaver-tail, these simple devices help make sure that each corn seed is placed in the bottom of the seed trench. Other firmer systems are available. Without some form of firming aid, seeds may occasionally wind up lodged above the bottom of the seed trench, creating contact with an air space, not soil.
The threat of waiting for rain, of course, is that once rains come, they may come more often or in greater quantity than you like. If waiting now for better conditions means planting corn at the end of May after rains quit and soils dry up again, it may not be a good trade-off.