0 to 60 in 6 days, but is it too cold for planting?

0 to 60 in 6 days, but is it too cold for planting?

Cloudy conditions, lower temperatures cause planting concerns.

We started planting last Saturday, April 23. Only a week later, we stand at 60% complete with both corn and soybeans.

Other than technological issues we have become accustomed to in this era, planting has gone pretty smooth. So far, the technology problems have all been electrical and were on the first day.

In one instance, we had a broken power connector which came partially unplugged. The other issue was just as simple but took 3 or 4 hours to trace down -- a bad ground connection, which has likely caused intermittent issues for 3 years without us realizing it.

No matter what preparations are made, it is difficult to test for these frustrating issues until you’re in the field.

Imbibitional chilling effect on corn. (Photo: Roger Elmore/ISU Extension/http://crops.extension.iastate.edu/cropnews/2012/05/imbibitional-chilling-and-variable-emergence)

I would say about two-thirds or producers in this area of Indiana have been pushing hard to plant full speed while the balance are moving slower or just getting started. We have been pushing hard as seed bed conditions have been good. We had a rain delay Thursday which allowed for a 20 mile move, and a rain shortened Saturday ending the week. We hope to get rolling again Tuesday.

In essence, we have planted 6 full days.

Corn injury

After a continuing ed class this spring which touched on imbibitional chilling and chilling injury in corn, I will admit I am concerned with the weather since Wednesday. We haven’t been having cold lows, but our highs have only been up to the mid 50’s. We haven’t had a lot of sun to heat the soil either.

In simple terms, here is what I understand about these two injuries:  Imbibitional chilling occurs when the seed first ‘wakes up’ and imbibes water to start the germination process. If the seed or water is too cold, it can crack the seed during swelling and kill the germination. With chilling injury, the seed successfully germinated and then gets cold and disrupts the mesocotyl elongation. When you dig the seed in this instance, it looks like the corn got confused and turned back down, presumably where it is warmer.

Only time will tell if planting was right or wrong, but with some warmer weather this week, I think everything will be ok. As I said, we haven’t had cold lows, and we did have a good ground temperature that should buffer this cold turn. In all, we had between .75 and 1.1 inches last week.


The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Penton Agriculture.

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