Corn Recovering from Cool Wet April

The month of March gave Indiana farmers some warm and dry days to get an early start on planting. But cool and wet conditions in  April slowed crop emergence and early development. The forecast for the beginning of May is for much warmer conditions which will help the crops recover from a slow start. Northeast Indiana has received several inches of rain this week. Now, with a warm up, the newly planted corn is looking good according to Todd Hoffman, who farms in Kosciusko County, “We have about 50-78% of the corn planted in this area, and the crops range from just emerged to an inch or so tall.”


But Hoffman told HAT that the lack of warm sunny days is putting stress on the young crop, “The corn that is up has a yiellowish cast to it because it needs heat for the nitrogen to start kicking in.”  He is also concerned about uneven emergence.  He told HAT he checked one of his fields and found a row with some seeds still not germinated and others already sprouting.  According to the Purdue agronomy department, “The longer it takes corn seedlings to reach and successfully transition to dependence on nodal roots, the greater the risk that stand establishment will not occur successfully in terms of achieving a uniformly healthy stand of corn.”


Planting began across the state almost a month earlier than normal, thanks to a record setting warm March.  This month will enter the record books as Indiana’s warmest March since 1895 when state records began.  The state average March temperature was 54.4° F, an amazing 13.7° F above the month normal.  April, by contrast, saw record low temperatures with far less sunshine than average.  HAT meteorologist Rob Wasson says more rain this weekend will benefit dry areas of Indiana, “Areas in northern and southwestern Indiana still need some much needed rains and will likely get it now through the weekend.  Rain totals should range from .50″ to 1.0″, with isolated 1.5″ amounts.  Some models are even showing near 2″ totals in some areas.”  As for temperatures, Wasson said, “Temperatures over the weekend will continue to push above normal, but settle down to near normal values by early next week.”


Hoffman said fieldwork has been moving at a feverish pace and most of the planting should be complete by the middle of the month, “Another 10 to 12 days and we will have all the corn and soybeans planted in this area.” Todd Hoffman is one of our HAT field reporters. Listen for his reports through the growing season. You can hear his complete first report on the HAT agronomy page.


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