Each Monday we will report on the progress of the Crop Watch field, first described in the May Indiana Prairie Farmer. You can also learn more about it in the "Exclusive" section on this Website. The goal is to use this field to help provide tips on what's happening to corn in general across the area. Later in the season, you'll be asked to provide a yield guess based on what you know about the field. Seed Consultants, Inc. will provide seed corn prizes for 2013 for the first, second, and third place winners.
The field was planted April 20 at a seeding rate above 32,000 plants per acre. Scouted Saturday, May 4, the corn is up, with the first, rounded-tip leaf fully extended. Dave Nanda, crops consultant, reports that the field did not emerge as quickly as some other fields planted earlier, because of the timing of soil temperatures. A week of cool weather may have slowed germination. Still, it reached this stage 14 days after planting.
Two factors stand out so far. First, the spacing is very accurate. The plant population, unofficially, appears to be about 30,000 plants per acre. Occasionally, there is a gap where perhaps another factor besides the planter resulted in a missing slot. There are virtually no doubles, and even at this stage, it's easy to see this field will have a picket fence-type of stand. Emergence is uniform, with nearly every plant that is emerged at the same stage.
Second, the stand is uniform across distinctly different soil types. Both in level soils and on the side of heavier clay, somewhat eroded slopes, the stand count is nearly identical. The spacing is just as uniform in both places and the plant stage of development is the same in both locations. The logical conclusion is that the planter was well-maintained and adjusted properly before planting. As it turns out, this farmer checks units on plant monitor stands before each season to make sure he achieves as uniform plant spacing as possible.
So far, all systems are go! Stay tuned for further reports.