Time to Change Plans?
By, Dan Steward
Here we are well into May with a great deal of spring fieldwork yet to be done. Since things rarely seem to go as planned in farming, here are a few pointers to consider as you dodge raindrops to get the crops in.
Dos and Don’ts to coping with this year’s weather:
It has been frustrating, but we have to do the best with the hand we are dealt. In 2011, patience was aptly rewarded. That year had an exceedingly wet May allowing only 24% of the corn to be planted in NY by the 22nd and 43% by the 29th. But then conditions turned exceedingly dry from mid-June through July before the drought was relieved in August. That year, the long-season corn planted in late May or early June yielded by far the best because it wasn’t mudded in. As a bonus, it didn’t silk until the first week of August when the drought was relieved. The earlier planted corn silked in the middle of the drought and had pollination issues.
The 2021 Corn Grain Trial results are in and full results are available at: https://wnycma.com/testplots.
Western New York Crop Management would like to extend a big thank you to the seed companies: Brevant Seeds, Hubner Seed, Local Seed Co., LLC, Pioneer, Seedway, LLC, Syngenta-NK Brand, and WinField United for the seed and financial support; Torrey Dairy Farms, Inc., Hildene Farm, Inc., CY Farms, Field Craft Farms, LLC, and Verratti Farms, LLC for providing the equipment, time, and land; and to the staff at WNYCMA for their hard work. The cooperation of these three groups of people made it possible to do these trials. If you would like to host a corn grain plot on your farm, please contact your crop consultant. Thank you and and we look forward to successful harvest this year.
All of our plots have been harvested and the data has been analyzed. To view the results please go to our test plot results page.
Special thanks goes out to the farms that hosted our test plots.
More thanks go out to everybody that helped plant, grow and harvest these plots.
I visited the farm and proceeded to go over how to level the planter in the shop with a particular tractor.The real answer really is the shop is not a good place to do that job. You really need to be in the field with the planter in the ground planting. It is best to be level or slightly higher in front. The main frame is what you should look at first. The best way to eyeball it by running along side or riding in a four wheeler. If it was level last year it might not be this year due tractor tire wear or wear on the bushings in the hitch. If the planter is low in front it may push residue in front or not close the slot well in back .If for some reason one has to switch tractors this has to be looked at again. No two tractors are the same.Sometimes a very mellow field will allow a tractor to settle more and more adjustments have to be made.
Good Luck STAY WELL DAVE SHEARING
It's May 1st. The forecast shows some unseasonably cool temperatures this coming week. By the calendar we should be safe to plant corn now, right? Indiana growers were asking the same question about two weeks ago. The following are some excerpts from an article on imbibitional chilling injury by Dr. Bob Nielson from Purdue that may help you make a decision:
While farmers are free to plant corn whenever they choose to do do, there are risks associated with "early" planting (Nielsen, 2020). The primary risk is that associated with "cold" soil temperatures. Soils that hover around 50 degrees (F) for days or longer after planting delay germination and slow emergence of the young seedlings. More importantly, soil temperatures lower than about 50F increase the risk of "imbibitional chilling" injury to germinating seeds.
"Imbibition" refers to the initial uptake of water by seed during the first 24 to 48 hours after being planted into moist soil. The resulting rehydration causes the seed to swell and the germination process to begin. Imbibition occurs naturally, with no physiological processes involved (e.g., dry wood will imbibe water). It also occurs whether soils are cold or warm and therein lies the potential for "imbibitional chilling" injury.
When the seed swells as it rehydrates, its internal cell membrane structure is damaged. When seeds (and soil) are warm, the membrane damage is quickly repaired by the physiological activity associated with germination and "life goes on" normally. When seeds (and soil) are cold, their cell membranes are less elastic, the cell membrane damage due to swelling is more severe, and the physiological repair of the damage is slowed or stopped. Left unrepaired, this damage to cell membranes and the subsequent leakage of cell contents can result in death of the seed.
Past research on the nature and causes of imbibitional chilling injury to seed does not clearly identify the environmental conditions "in the real world" that result in a high probability of the problem. The literature implies that soil temperatures simply lower than 50F are a key factor. It is not clear from past research whether the injury can occur with only a few hours of exposure to sub-50F soil temperatures or whether it requires lengthier exposure to cold temperatures. What is known is that this type of chilling injury is most likely to occur during the first 24 to 48 hours after planting seed into moist soil because that is when imbibition (and corresponding seed swelling) occurs.
Identifying and the diagnosing the problem in the field is often challenging for several reasons. First of all, germination and emergence of corn in cold soils will naturally be slow. The first visual indicator of germination (other than the seed swelling) is the appearance of the radicle root between 35 and 60 Growing Degree Days (GDD) after planting (Nielsen, 2019).
Tip: Calculating GDDs using soil temperatures is preferred over air temperatures for predicting corn development progress prior to about the 6-leaf growth stage (V6). The reason is that the seed & young seedling responds more directly to soil temperature as long as the main growing point of the corn plant (apical meristem) remains below ground (until about V5-V6).
When soil temperatures hover around 50F for days or longer after planting, accumulating 35 to 60 GDD may take 1 to 2 weeks. Initially, dead seed due to imbibitional chilling injury do not look much different than live seed taking their normal "sweet time" to germinate in cold soils. However, once 60 GDD or more have accumulated, then seed that seems to be "dormant" compared to others that exhibit radicle roots, coleoptiles, and lateral seminal roots may well be the result of imbibitional chilling injury. Sometimes, instead of immediate cessation of the germination process (i.e., "dormant" seed symptom), the radicle root and coleoptile emerge from the seed coat before ceasing further development (Fig. 2).
Another challenge in diagnosing imbibitional chilling injury as the cause of poor stands of corn is that eventually the dead seed or seed that germinated but simply ceased further development will naturally begin to decompose. Consequently, if you wait too long to investigate a problem field, you might be tempted to diagnose seed or seedling disease as the cause of the poor stand.
Daily, or hourly, soil temperature records coupled with knowledge of a field's planting date are useful for "pointing the finger" at imbibitional chilling injury. Because imbibition occurs within the first 24 to 48 hours after planting into moist soil, one can imagine that timing of planting relative to the onset of several days of cold soil temperatures influences the risk of imbibitional chilling injury. Anecdotal stories abound in the coffeeshops about fields planted 3 days ahead of a cold snap emerging just fine... fields planted 2 days ahead of the cold snap experiencing some emergence problems... fields planted 1 day ahead of the cold snap having more problems... and fields planted the day of the cold snap having major problems.
Here is the link to the full article. https://www.agry.purdue.edu/ext/corn/news/timeless/ImbibitionalChilling.html
The tire pressure also has a profound effect. Why does this happen? Uniform seed placement and correct depth are very important. Poor seed depth and spacing will reduce yields and waste great genetics, good soil fertility and effective herbicides. If the planter drops doubles or triple seeds it causes competition for sunlight, nutrition and water. This is called crowding and can result to barren plants or runty ears. This lowers grain yields and corn silage quality and yields. A planter set to drop 30,000 seeds per acre can easily do it and still do a lousy job. For example if 5,000 seeds are in the form of doubles and triples or come up more than 48 hours after the majority of seeds, due to poor depth control, they are essentially weeds!
Take these steps in order to prepare your planter for picket fence stands:
The following practices in the field will help ensure picket fence stands:
Probably what is the most important item is be ready. Corn planted when the soil is ready will almost always thrive. Getting the ball rolling in February or March means
You will be ready at the end of April and if you get a good weather spell you will be ready.