When the Weather Breaks.....
R.L. (Bob) Nielsen ,
Agronomy Department ,
Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
- Manage available field working days efficiently.
When the weather breaks and Indiana corn growers take to the fields
again to begin planting corn, quality time will be of the essence. From mid-May
on, the yield penalties for further planting delays are serious enough that
corn planting should be the highest priority field operation. What steps or
operations can growers eliminate or postpone to make the most efficient use of
available field working days?
- Use these rainy days to doublecheck the condition of the planter and
other equipment used during planting to help avoid downtime in the field. Make
sure everything is well-lubricated and that the planter's drive tires are
- If you use an air or vacuum planter, also use these rainy days to
calculate and record the number of seeds per lb. for each variety you will be
planting (e.g., 80000 kernels divided by 41.5 lb. bag = 1928 seeds per lb.).
Make sure you know ahead of time what planter adjustments (air/vacuum pressure,
seed discs, seed drums) will be required to uniformly meter the kernels of each
variety. Doing this homework now will not only save you time in the field, but
ensure that the resulting plant-to-plant spacing will be uniform.
- If sidedress nitrogen fertilizer application is feasible for your
operation, don't waste valuable time applying pre-plant nitrogen fertilizer.
Apply 20 to 40 lbs. of nitrogen starter fertilizer in a band 2 inches over and
2 inches below the seed, and apply the rest later with a sidedress application.
- Similarly, consider eliminating or postponing pre-plant applications
of phosphorus and/or potassium fertilizer. Maintenance or replacement amounts
can be applied as starter fertilizer through the planter.
- If you are not already no-tilling, consider eliminating one or more
tillage operations. This includes reworking a stale' seedbed that had been
worked previously. Most modern corn planters are capable of planting under
reduced tillage operations. Eliminating one or more tillage operations may also
reduce the risk of creating soil compaction in fields that are slow to dry.
- Instead of pre-plant herbicide applications, consider applying
appropriate herbicides pre-emergence or post-emergence instead.
Return to the the Chat 'n Chew
The Corn Growers Guidebook , a WWW
resource for corn management systems in Indiana and the eastern CornBelt.
Purdue University Agronomy Extension
WWW Home Page.
Purdue Agronomy On-Line! ,
Purdue's Agronomy Department WWW Home Page.
End of Document