Sally A. Flis, Ph.D. – Feed and Crop Support Specialist, Dairy One

The recent week of dry, warm weather finally allowed for a lot of field work to be done. Both the field by my house and my Facebook page were full of tillage and planting equipment on the move. So now that you got some planting done this weekend, what should you be looking for next?

Your planted seed is worth nothing if it does not come out of the ground. If soil conditions are warm and moist, corn can emerge in a little as 5 to 7 days. However, if you get a cool and wet stretch of weather after planting, corn can take up to 4 weeks to emerge. Corn that takes that long to emerge due to weather should be evaluated for rotten seeds or germinated seeds. If corn does not emerge due to weather conditions, you should evaluate if you can still reseed the field to corn, or if you should move to another crop for the season.

When corn is planted, ideally we will see 100% emergence and it will all emerge at the same time. In reality, we will see less than a 100% stand. Loss at emergence can be from pests, weather, or skips that were not measured during planting. The uniformity of emergence in a field will have an impact on yield. Research from the University of Wisconsin found a 6 to 9% decrease in corn grain yield when there was a 1 ½ week delay in the emergence of 25% of the field.

Good growing conditions are not only good for what you planted, but for any seeds present in the field. Scouting for weeds while observing your emergence is a good time to determine what your next steps in your weed management plan will be.

You may notice losses from pests while observing emergence. Large pests (geese and deer) can be hard to control, but can do quite a lot of damage to a stand. As with weeds, emergence is a good time to look for pests and develop a pest management plan for moving forward.

Finally, as with lots of the topics I have talked about on the blog, record keeping is an important part of managing your corn stand. This should include planting date, any fertilizers or seed treatments used at planting, seeding date, number of days to emergence, percent emergence, and note on any weeds or pests observed. Having this information will make it easier to diagnose any problems should they occur later in the season.

planting cartoon