2002 Corn Emergence

June 13, 2002  9(13):102-103

Joe Lauer, Corn Agronomist

The 2002 planting season will be remembered as difficult with colder and wetter than normal weather conditions. Significant frosts and record low temperatures occurred across most of the state around May 20 just as early-planted corn was emerging. Plants stands of early-planted corn are commonly described as erratic with uneven development. Farmers around the state are observing planting date effects on corn stands.

Since 1974 and for 25 seasons, a planting date study has evaluated risk associated with various planting dates. The optimum planting date over these seasons has been May 1 at Arlington, WI. Earlier planting dates have been slightly lower yielding, but have drier grain and can be as profitable as the May 1 optimum. Earlier planting dates than May 1 usually have lower seed survival and plant emergence, but by May 1 emergence and survival of corn seedlings is about 90%.

This year plant emergence and survival was significantly lower on early planting dates than other years (Table 1). For the April 30 planting date only 64% of the seed planted emerged. It wasn't until planting dates after May 10 that emergence of corn seed reached 90%. Plot symptoms early-planted treatments included underground unfurling even though not much of a crust had formed. At this point in time nothing can be done about the reduced stands. We will have to live with them for the rest of the year.

Table 1. Percent emergence of corn seed planted on various dates between 2000 and 2002 at Arlington, WI.
2002 2001 2000
Planting Emergence Planting Emergence Planting Emergence
Date % Date % Date %
April 15 66 April 18 79 April 18 72
April 30 64 May 1 92 April 28 88
May 10 83 May 15 92 May 15 95
May 20 96 June 1 91 June 9 95
    June 14 83 June 19 93
LSD (0.10) 9   3   3

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