Soil Temperatures Key to Planting Decision

Soil Temperatures Key to Planting Decision

Andrew Ferrel

Snow and below-freezing temperatures started off the week in many parts of Indiana. This is keeping many fields too cold and too wet to plant. Yet, the warm weekend tempted a few folks to pull planters into the fields, and some even put seed in the ground.

Andrew Ferrel, agronomist with DuPont Pioneer, says, in most areas, the soil is still too cold, “50 degrees is the focal point, but for corn we would really like to see the temperature in the 55 degree range or higher. This is especially true in heavy clay soils that stay colder longer and even in sandy soils that fluctuate more and can get very cold with a drop in temperature overnight.”

Ferrel says planting into cold soil can have some serious consequences, “Planting in to cold soils,  the tissues within the seed become less elastic. That can lead to rupturing.” This, he said, can lead to greater disease infestation in young seeds. Last week in Indiana, the average temperature for the week was 49.3 degrees, 0.4 degrees below normal for the state. The amounts of rainfall varied from 0.07 inches to 1.95 inches over the week.

Ferrel’s recommendation is to wait until soils are dry and the warmer the better, “When you plant into warmer soils, you get better emergence and faster emergence. This is ideal for good yield performance.” He said research shows that completing emergence within 48 hours is ideal for maximizing performance.  Last year at this time, 3% of Indiana corn had been planted, according to the National As Statistics Service.

More agronomy updates from DuPont Pioneer coming later this week.



Recommended Posts