Tips For Managing Early-Season Planting

If weather permits, it’s tempting for your grower-customers to plant early. If that opportunity occurs, choosing the best planting date, prioritizing fields, selecting stress-tolerant hybrids, and considering seed treatment options, are important steps to take, according to an expert at Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business.

As farm sizes increase, more and more growers look to earlier planting to get all their acres done in time. Imad Saab, a Pioneer research scientist, says early-planted corn also may gain a head start on the flowering stage — potentially avoiding drought — as well as provide growers the chance to harvest and dry the crop sooner. Early planting carries an increased risk of stand loss due to the potential for damaging frosts and cold snaps in early spring, which can even require replanting.

"To help growers manage early-season risks like cold weather conditions or cooler, wetter soils from substantial residue, Pioneer provides stress emergence scores and high residue suitability scores for all hybrids offered in North America," Saab says. "Choosing hybrids with higher scores for these traits helps reduce genetic vulnerability to stress brought on by cold soils and high residue environments."

Pioneer scores each hybrid with a stress emergence rating, developed from years of testing in a wide array of stress environments.

"The company applies very extensive research from the field and lab to develop the hybrids growers are asking for," Saab says. "Our research locations include sandy fields that can be planted ultra early as well as no-till, corn-on-corn fields with heavy residue and very challenging seedbeds. This year we’ve added more field research locations to better serve our customers, and we’re always chasing stressful conditions to push those hybrids to the limits and beyond with expanded field testing."

Hybrids assigned high stress emergence ratings show superior potential for stand establishment and uniformity under stress compared to other Pioneer brand hybrids. Besides extensive field testing, the company uses industry-leading lab tests and molecular breeding technologies to develop superior stress emergence hybrids.

"Pioneer breeders draw from highly efficient and predictive laboratory tests to evaluate tens of thousands of potential hybrids very early in the development stage," Saab says. "Using proprietary molecular marker technologies, breeders identify and select regions in the corn genome linked to superior, native genes."

Stress emergence scores of six to nine indicate above-average performance; five indicates average performance; and one to four indicates below-average performance to establish normal stands under stress conditions.

"I suggest growers diversify their portfolios and maintain realistic expectations," Saab says. "A strong stress emergence rating, say a seven, isn’t completely foolproof. Corn is still sensitive to cold."

Finding the right planting date plays an important role for achieving optimal yields. Saab says the key to choosing an early planting date is finding the right combination of good field conditions, adequate soil temperature and moisture, and a warming trend in the forecast instead of just relying on a calendar date.

"Areas where the average soil temperature remained above 50°F for two weeks after planting typically have higher and more uniform stands than where soils were 50°F or below for the same period," he says. "Corn requires adequate moisture and several days of good weather after planting for successful emergence."

To protect against stand and yield loss, monitor soil temperature at planting depth and delay planting until soils reach 50°F. Well-drained, low-residue fields typically warm up faster and allow for more rapid emergence and seedling growth.

"Besides cold, compaction also can have negative effects on stand establishment. Seedlings emerging in compacted soils often exhibit symptoms like leafing underground, smaller roots and runts," Saab says. "If possible, refrain from planting until soils are sufficiently dry to minimize compaction, and make sure to use the right seed firmer and closing wheel to ensure good seed-to-soil contact and reduce compaction especially in no-till fields."

Consider seed treatment options when planting early. Early-season insects often are a problem in early planting and high residue conditions, and more so if seedlings are weakened by cold or overly wet soils.

"Insecticide seed treatments have proven to be very effective at protecting stands in stressful environments," Saab says. "Although these are insecticides, they also protect against seedling disease by reducing insect feeding and depriving pathogens of points of entry. These provide effective control of secondary insects such as wireworms, cutworms, seed corn maggots and white grubs. However, our research has shown that higher rates of insecticide seed treatments such as Poncho 1250 may be needed to maximize control of these insects under heavy infestations and especially in no-till fields. These insects tend to be active early in the season and can cause significant stand reductions, especially if emergence is slow due to stress."

Leave a Reply

Latest News
Industry NewsBayer, MS Technologies Get China Approval For Balance G…
January 18, 2017
MS Technologies and Bayer have received import approval from China for Balance GT soybeans. The new Balance GT Soybean Performance Read More
Werner Baumann, Bayer AG, and Hugh Grant, Monsanto
Industry NewsReport: Monsanto, Bayer CEOs Among Latest to Make Trump…
January 18, 2017
The chief executive officers of German chemical giant Bayer AG and U.S. seed behemoth Monsanto, Werner Baumann and Hugh Grant, Read More
Giant Ragweed
HerbicidesStudy: Focusing On Weed Seedbank Can Help Manage Herbic…
January 18, 2017
Researchers writing in the latest issue of the journal Weed Science provide important insights on the control of herbicide-resistant giant Read More
Management3 Financial Trends To Watch In Agriculture
January 17, 2017
I recently had the opportunity to attend a meeting of credit managers for Midwest ag supply and input companies, in part Read More
Andersons Retail Store
CropLife 100The Andersons To Close All Retail Stores; Shutdown Does…
January 16, 2017
In a stunning announcement to the Toledo area, The Andersons Inc. said on Sunday that it would close its two Read More
Trimble TMX-2050 In-Cab Display
Eric SfiligojPrecision To Lead Agriculture In 2017?
January 16, 2017
Another new year is upon us! And I’m certain I speak for many in the agricultural world when I say Read More
Corn
Eric SfiligojThe Mood From Madison? In A Holding Pattern
January 16, 2017
Last week, I had the chance to attend the annual Wisconsin AgriBusiness Classic show in Madison, WI. It’s been a Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsAccenture Helps Syngenta Transform Its Global Logistics
January 13, 2017
Syngenta, a leading agriculture company, has collaborated with Accenture to design and implement a new digital logistics operating model across Read More
Fall Creek Seth Harden The Nature Conservancy
StewardshipLocal Farmers’ Watershed Initiative: Continuous Improve…
January 13, 2017
The goal in the Big Pine Watershed Project is to more intentionally do what local farmers and responsible ag retailers Read More
HerbicidesEPA Expands Enlist Duo Herbicide Registration To 34 Sta…
January 13, 2017
The U.S. EPA has expanded the geography for application of Enlist Duo herbicide from 15 to 34 states. This means Read More
Olson Ag Enterprise
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Acquires Nebraska Seed Retailer
January 13, 2017
Wilbur-Ellis’ Agribusiness, a recognized leader in precision agriculture technology and the distribution and marketing of plant protection, seed and nutritional Read More
ManagementDeere-Precision Planting Update and the Ag Secretary Wa…
January 12, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj provide the latest on the court date for John Deere/Precision Planting and the quest Read More
Monsanto sign
Seed/BiotechMonsanto, NRGene Form Agreement For Big Data Genomic An…
January 12, 2017
Monsanto Co. and NRGene have announced that the companies have reached a non-exclusive, multi-year global licensing agreement on NRGene’s genome-analysis Read More
AGCO Custom applicator
SprayersAGCO, Asmark Institute To Offer Training For Beginning …
January 11, 2017
AGCO Corp. and the Asmark Institute are collaborating to offer a new training program dedicated to educating and developing custom Read More
ManagementAg Land Values In Limbo In 2017
January 10, 2017
Several factors will come into play in 2017 that will determine the direction of land values. Randy Dickhut, senior vice Read More
Industry NewsPattison Agriculture Positioned To Be Leading Canadian …
January 10, 2017
Pattison Agriculture Limited (Pattison Agriculture), a division of The Jim Pattison Group (the Pattison Group), has announced the merger of Read More
Fertilizer Tender close-up
MicronutrientsHow Micronutrients Fit Into 2017 Fertility Plans
January 10, 2017
Where do micronutrients stand going forward in fertility plans? For one thing, Tim Mundorf, Field Representative with Midwest Laboratories, says Read More
Fertilizer application
State of the IndustryCautious Optimism On Fertilizer In 2017
January 10, 2017
What kind of fertilizer rates are growers and retailers looking at in 2017 and beyond? According to stakeholders CropLife magazine Read More