The early (and later) planting of 2023

By Corey Prosser, agronomist, LG Seeds

            Spring of 2023 has sure been very interesting and has been very challenging (to say the least). Just a couple of weeks ago, there were growers across the state who hadn’t turned a wheel in the field and farmers who had a large portion of their crop in the ground. During the second week of April, we were all in t-shirts and enjoying 80-degree days. In the last week of April, I had a fire in my fireplace due to 40-degree high temperatures for a few days and even the occasional snow shower. So, what does this all mean for growers, the ones who planted early and ones who waited?

            The week of April 10 offered some of the best planting conditions growers could ask for and many growers took advantage of those conditions. The Ohio State University weather station showed soil conditions with ideal moisture and soil temperatures at or above 60 degrees. All things pointed to planting and many growers did. I wouldn’t beat yourself up over your decision to plant, as many planted when conditions were right, not based on the calendar. Of course, soils have remained saturated and soil temps dropped about 10 degrees cooler than they had been.  

This early planting doesn’t bother me nearly as much on soybeans as it does on corn. Over the last few years, we have tested soybeans by pushing them earlier and earlier to increase yields and have had good luck. Two years ago, we planted soybeans the first of March with about 85% emergence, only to be killed by a Mother’s Day frost. 

Here are a few things to look at if you have planted corn or soybeans. Corn typically doesn’t like the cold and wet as much. Some of the things to be on the lookout for in corn are seedling blights, such as Pythium, that are caused by cold, wet soils after planting. You may see the corn go backwards after emergence or even rot in the ground due to this disease. In soybeans, Phytophthora is our largest issue here in Ohio and conditions have been favorable for this disease as well. This, like Pythium in corn, can send your stand backwards and limit your stand from the start. Keep an eye on your fields and don’t get in a hurry to decide to replant yet. There is still time to do so and don’t be afraid to reach out to your seed supplier for help in that decision. 

For the growers who are just planting, there is a lot of concern about when to plant. The biggest advice I have is this, wait until the conditions are right. Let those soils dry out and temperatures return to where they need to be. Do not worry about the calendar as much as field conditions. Give that field the extra day. Planting mistakes like sidewall compaction cannot be fixed and will haunt you all season long. If you mud something in it can cause a root restriction, then if we turn off dry you are worse off than if you waited an extra few days for better planting conditions. If it gets late and you’re worried about maturity of products, talk to your seed supplier or agronomist. This isn’t the first year in Ohio we have had a late start, there are many years the state’s crops haven’t gone in until late May early June. 

I hope everyone has a safe spring and the weather straightens out for all of us. Here is the link to OSU’s weather station data if you would like to look for yourself and check the closest station to you: https://weather.cfaes.osu.edu/.

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One comment

  1. This is really important and useful news about agriculture. I will follow it for more information.

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