This could be a critical week for getting the 2013 Marion County corn crop into the ground.
The questions about whether it’s getting late to plant corn, and whether ground is going to be dry enough to plant in time are “some tough calls to make,” according to Rickey Roberts, Marion County extension agent.
Of major concern, he said, is whether wheat straw stubble left from last year’s crop for no-till planting of corn will dry sufficiently, given the additional time needed because of the dense covering compared to conventional tillage. Rather than an advantage for moisture conservation, the situation may have turned into a short-term disadvantage.
Roberts said that some corn already planted has come up in spotty stands because of the chillier than average spring weather, but there is a “wait and see” factor as to whether temperatures forecast to be in the 80s this week will help germinate remaining corn to come up in more even stands.
There is hope that nothing will need to be replanted.
If it comes to farmers needing to switch to other crops because it is getting late for corn, Roberts said they have a tough management call to make because of chemicals already put into the ground for corn.
Kraig Roozeboom, Kansas State University Extension crop production specialist, said corn requires a long-enough growing season that Kansas farmers typically like to have seed in the ground by the end of April.
He said they risk corn yields declining each week corn planting is delayed after mid-May, and need to switch the ground to another crop if planting gets past about the first week of June.
Roberts and Roozeboom both recommended that a corn producer check with his crop insurance provider before changing crops to assure coverage.
Roozeboom said a farmer could consider switching to an earlier producing shorter season corn variety if needed.
Or, considering chemicals used, a producer might find that changing to milo or other sorghum crop could provide the best alternative to use for the unplanted corn ground.