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Corn Illustrated: Seed industry person explains how he would approach this dilemma.

Tom J Bechman 1, Editor, Indiana Prairie Farmer

June 5, 2017

3 Min Read
WILL YOU GET IT PLANTED? Midnight is approaching for corn planting in 2017. Kevin Cavanaugh, with Beck’s, advises considering your options and developing a short-term plan.

The calendar reads June 5 or later. If you have corn to plant or replant, it may not be midnight yet on corn planting, but the hands of the clock are certainly headed in that direction. You need a game plan, and one that triggers decisions over a period of days, not weeks.

Kevin Cavanaugh, Beck’s director of research, has answered tons of questions from farmers wondering what they should do next if they still have corn to plant. Here, he discusses his responses with Penton Ag.

What is the first thing you would do if it’s June 5 or after and you still have corn to plant? The very first step is to talk to your insurance agent and make sure what your policy says about prevented planting. You need to know where you stand on possible payments if you elect not to plant a field, or if you can’t replant a field that’s already been planted — or maybe even planted and replanted and still needs replanting. Know important dates and information related to prevented planting and your insurance policy.

Suppose you’ve done so and still want to plant, if possible. What do you consider next? If it’s June 5 and I’m in central Indiana, say from U.S. 24 south to just below Indianapolis, I’m still going to plant corn if I can plant today. If it’s still too wet to plant, I’m going to look at the 10-day forecast and see what lies ahead. I’m certainly OK planting corn in this region at least through June 10.

Would you stay with the same hybrids? That depends upon what you intended to plant in the first place. In the central part of the state, if you have a 110-day hybrid, you’re probably OK. If you have something which is later, you may want to consider switching to an earlier hybrid.

What if I farm in northern Indiana, say around Huntington, and it’s June 5? Now I’m more concerned. Northern Indiana tends to see more cloudy weather, and there are other effects which impact the growing season. I would be planting nothing later than 105-day corn by June 5. At the other end of the spectrum, at Evansville, for example, you’re probably OK with 110-day corn through June 10.

Is there a point where you consider switching to soybeans? Yes. The closer you get to June 15, the harder I would look at switching. However, you have to determine if it’s feasible to switch to soybeans in certain fields or not. That may depend upon what herbicides were applied. You also have the nitrogen factor to consider if you already applied nitrogen for corn.

What else can you do to give yourself an edge if it’s June 5 and you have corn to plant? I would bump seeding rate, maybe by 2,000 to 3,000 seeds per acre. You know that with corn planted this late, you’re going to have a shorter grain-fill period. So to make up yield, you need more kernels out there. That means more plants and more ears.

About the Author(s)

Tom J Bechman 1

Editor, Indiana Prairie Farmer

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