Monday, April 23, 2012

Dust and Heat (not!!)

A wise farmer once told me that you will never go wrong planting a crop if the dust is flying behind the planter.  Was this what he had in mind?  I delivered some corn seed on Thursday and the dust was definitely flying behind this planter.  It's not quite as bad as it looks because there was some moisture in the seed zone, but we are not used to these conditions in April.  There are reports of farmers deciding to plant corn 2-3" deep in order to place seed in the moisture.        

It is a real catch-22.  Moisture and heat are needed to emerge a crop.  This spring moisture and heat have both been missing in action.  The deeper you plant, the colder it is.  The shallower you plant, the drier it is.
Personally, I don't believe in planting deep in April.  I would never go deeper than 2" because I tend to think moisture comes back quicker than heat this time of year.  In late May, it is the exact opposite.  Shallow planting then is the kiss of death.

I passed judgement a while back when I believed it was too early to plant.  I have done some investigating to see whether my call was correct.  My experience with early planting has been with cold and wet soil, not cold and dry. 

This corn has been in the ground for three weeks.  The radicle, which becomes the root is well established and the coleoptile shoot is beginning to emerge.  How much longer can it hang on?  Don't know.  Moisture is not the problem.  The picture does not show this well because the camera man can't figure out a setting to reveal the contrast. 

This seed planted on April 13 is a week old.  The radicle is just starting to emerge.  It is also in lots of moisture.  Both fields were planted with the dust flying.  Both need some heat.  A snowy forecast will do nothing to change the situation.

No comments:

Post a Comment