By Matt Reese
In some parts of the state, there are puddles aplenty in fields and field work of any kind has been mostly absent. Some farmers in parts of northern Ohio with heavy soils and downpours this spring have yet to turn a wheel. Further south, some of the hills and gravel-based soils have been planted for weeks, with crops in some fields starting to emerge. How is planting in your area?
The warmer days ahead will be needed to dry fields and push crops. Dave Nanda, Director of Genetics and Technology for Seed Consultants, Inc., noted the tremendous difference between 2012 and 2013.
“What a difference a year makes. By this time last year, many farmers were done with their corn planting. This year, many of us are still waiting to plant the first acre,” Nanda said. “However, it is important to be ready when the time comes. As we know from past experience, it is not how a season starts but how it ends that counts.”
Once the corn seeds are in the ground and seedlings start to emerge, it will be important to know the growth stages of the plants moving forward. Nanda highlighted the following important growth stages in a recent newsletter post:
• It takes about 110 to 120 growing degrees for the corn seedlings to emerge. If we know the growth stages, we can plan the field operations better.
• How do we measure the stages of maturity? The most commonly used method is the leaf collar method. We count the number of leaves with collars, which develop when the leaf partially unclasps the stem. A leaf collar is the light- colored band at the base of the leaf. It includes the first emerging, round-tipped leaf.
• VE stage — Corn Emergence. The growing point is 1 to 1.5 inches below the surface. The first roots are called the seminal roots which supply water and nutrients to the seedling.
• The growing point stays below ground for three to four weeks. At first the radical and seminal roots grow, followed by the secondary roots known as nodal roots. These grow from nodes below the ground. The first node above the ground is usually the fifth node.
• V1 — The first leaf you will see is a thumb-shaped leaf. If the collar isn’t visible, don’t include it in staging the plant.
• V2 — About 7-10 days after emergence, roots start to elongate and there are two visible collars.
As you get out in the fields this spring and your crops start to emerge, keep us posted of your progress. Send photos to firstname.lastname@example.org for our 2013 planting photo gallery.