Looking out at a sea of snow drifts and forecasts for more winter weather can be panic inducing this time of year. It can be tempting to second guess your corn maturity selections but now is not the time to start making changes to your planting plan.
When talking to farmers I often hear a loss of perspective between the calendar and reality. Panic sets in if they can’t get the corn in before April ends. Remember, acres that are planned for the appropriate maximum corn maturities can be planted into the first part of May. On average, only enough heat units occur between April 15 and May 5 to emerge the corn. If that same corn is planted between May 1 and 5, it will often catch up to earlier planted corn due to warmer soil temperatures. Plus, on average, the emergence is even higher.
My rule of thumb? Do not change your corn plans until after May 20th. Why? First, we usually only get about 100-150 good heat units in May on an average year. It takes close to that many heat units for emergence, so it’s not critical for the seed to be sitting in the ground before it is warm enough for emergence.
Every time you have delayed emergence, you have uneven emergence. Waiting a few days and having your corn emerge fast and even is worth many, many bushels. Think about the lost bushels of an early hybrid planted before it should be. That alone can be 20-30 bushels. You are money ahead if you keep the priorities straight.
Trust that plan. Don’t change a thing until after May 20. Then you should consider dropping off your biggest corn and dropping back a few days maturity if it is available. No use changing maturities unless it is at least a 5-10 day maturity change. You’re a durable northern corn grower with a good plan. Keep your resolve….