Sunday, May 6, 2012

There Is Only One Thing I Know For Sure

Crop advisers and farmers breathlessly anticipate the results of the early planting experiment being conducted this year in Ontario.  I am already worn out by the many stories and predictions.  The collective angst is overwhelming.  I have heard of corn emerged, I have heard of corn froze three times, I have heard of corn being replanted already.  Gosh, where did they get the seed?  I thought the seed corn companies were all sold out. 

This picture, courtesy of Aaron Stevanus of Waterloo Crop Services is making the rounds.  The 14 day difference in planting date from April 15 to April 29 is showing some significant difference in growth.  

Locally, corn planted the first two weeks in April is starting to emerge, agreeing with Aaron's observation.

This is Brian's corn that was planted on April 20.  Lots of roots.  Emergence will occur in a few days.

This corn was planted on May 2 and has already sprouted because nature gave us 70 crop heat units over the first 4 days in May.  Which one will yield better?  April 3, April 13, April 20 or May 2?  I have no idea, but I would bet the differences due to planting date will be small.

These soybeans were also planted on May 2 and have sprouted nicely.  Which leads to the answer from last weeks quiz.  It takes the same amount of heat, 150-175 crop heat units, to emerge soybeans as it does corn.

Several questions were asked this week about the frosty weather and effect on alfalfa.

At first glance alfalfa plants are recovering.  But, a closer inspection tells a different story.


Some stems are dead, some are alive and the plant is regrowing through the axillary buds on the wounded stems.  This has to have a negative impact on 1st cut yield, but I can't tell how much.  I also suspect these plants are going to need an extended rest period to replenish root reserves sometime before going into dormancy next fall.  The plants are weak and badly stressed due to the repeated frost events.

As far as the only thing I know for sure.  Cathy and I will not get any apple cider this fall.

The fruit buds on our apple trees are totally screwed, thanks to the frost.

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