Crop Success Starts at Day One
Agronomy Bulletin 118 - Planting Tips
Planting is arguably the most important time in crop production. Your crop has its maximum yield potential on the day it’s planted. Crop success or failure depends on your ability to control planting factors. Whether it is your first season or your 51st, it’s worthwhile to revisit planting fundamentals.
Factors to Consider
- Seed sizes
- Seed quality
- Planting speed
- Planting depth
- Soil temperature
- Consider seed sizes and shapes. The size or shape of the seed does not influence the plant’s genetic yield potential. However, because of the positioning of the embryo, rounded corn seeds are sometimes more susceptible to mechanical damage than flat ones. In addition, variability in seed sizes can lead to multiple drops or skips. To prevent such issues, consider adjustments specific to your type of planter and seed.
- Assess seed quality. High seed quality is critical to obtaining a healthy, even stand. One way to assess seed quality is through germination testing. Mycogen Seeds performs a standard germination test on each lot of seed and places these results on the tag. Expressed as a percentage, this value denotes the highest level of germination achieved by that lot of seed under optimum conditions.
- Plant at the proper speed. Planting speed has important implications for seed spacing and depth. Planting at speeds that are too high often causes multiple drops and skips, as well as variability in depth. This is due to the bouncing of the planter as it moves across uneven field topography. Keep in mind that the optimum planting speed is not the same for all equipment. Generally, 5.5 mph is a manageable planting speed.
- DETERMINE THE APPROPRIATE PLANTING DEPTH. Under average conditions, 2 inches is the ideal planting depth. In cooler soil temperatures, it might be necessary to reduce the depth to 1.5 inches, but never shallower. Failure to plant deep enough could result in floppy corn syndrome. If soil temperature is adequate later in the planting season but moisture is lacking in the 2-inch zone, it is appropriate to seed deeper. Yet, seeding too deeply could result in delayed emergence and an uneven stand. Obtaining a uniform planting depth will contribute to a uniform stand.
- PLANT AT SUITABLE SOIL TEMPERATURES. Temperatures cooler than 50 F are not suitable for planting. Emergence could take more than three weeks when soil temperatures are 50 F to 55 F, but fewer than seven days when temperatures exceed 70 F. Additionally, cool, wet soils are welcoming environments for pathogens that contribute to seedling blights, such as gibberella, pythium, diplodia and penicillium. These pathogens are commonly present in the soil. Waiting until soil temperatures increase prior to planting will reduce the risk for such seedling diseases.
Seed sizes, seed quality, planting speed, seeding depth and soil temperatures are critical factors to prepare for a successful planting season.
For more information, contact your local Mycogen Seeds commercial agronomist or trusted agronomic adviser.
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