Is it better in the bag or in the field?

It is hard to be patient at this time of year. We all know that the sooner we can get started planted the better or is it? Yes and only if the conditions are right for quick emergence is this true. It takes approximately 100 – 150 CHU to emerge corn and with the daytime temperatures to date we have accumulated nothing in the way of heat units. If you have corn planted you are playing the waiting game to see when (if?) it is going to emerge. With our current genetics, quality standards and seed treatments seed can survive delayed emergence significantly better than 10 – 15 years ago, but if three to four weeks go by and we still have not seen the corn it will be hard to be patient and wish that you left it in the bag. So what should you do? Plant as soon as the soil is fit.

Should I start changing my hybrids to lower heat units? No. Prior to May 10, Syngenta Agronomy Research shows only a one bushel (or 0.11 bu/day) of corn yield loss with a ten day delay in planting. If you did not get finished planting until May 7th this year compared to April 28th last your expected yield loss is one bushel per acre. What about after May 10th? You may want to consider switching your very long heat unit corn to a shorter day hybrid and plant the rest. Our research has shown a one bushel per day for every day of delayed planting. What about May 24th? This topic will be discussed if delay occurs.

In the meantime we need to practice patience. Our elders were correct – patience is a virtue.

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Heat Accumulation for April 2010 Planting Season

This year has seen some of the earliest planting that most people in the agricultural community can remember.  The accumulated heat has set records for most of the province.  Below is data accumulated by Syngenta Seeds and WINS through sites sponsored by the company throughout Ontario. 

It is generally accepted that hybrids require about 180 to 200 heat units accumulation from planting to emergence.

These graphs show most of the province was very close to these numbers for the month of April and accumulations were considerably ahead of normal.  The lack of moisture accumulation through the months of March and April has been a concern with many soils being drier than normal for this time of year.  Some moisture has fallen the first week of May but we are still behind normal, and stands may show uneven emergence as a result.

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