Wednesday, May 31, 2023

After a Slow Start, 2023 Corn Planting and Emergence is Fast

After a slow start, corn planting progressed rapidly throughout much of Wisconsin during the last half of May. Drier weather at planting with enough rain to activate pre-emergence herbicides is one characteristic of a good yielding year. Early planting allows corn plants to take advantage of the entire growing season, and, as importantly, be harvested with reasonable grain moisture at the end of the season. Of course, we have a long way to go yet, and a lot of things can happen.

Figure 1 shows planting progress as reported by USDA-NASS. Also included are the slowest and fastest years for corn planting progress over the past 30-years. The slowest planting year was 2019, while the fastest was 2010 (as measured by 50% planted). Typically, Wisconsin has 50% of the corn acreage planted by Week 19 (May 10). 

Figure 1. Corn planting progress for Wisconsin. Data were derived from USDA-NASS for the previous 30-years. Years were separated based upon + one standard deviation from the 30-year average. Solid lines are years of significantly faster planting, while dashed lines are years of significantly slower planting. To enlarge, click on the Figure.

Emergence and early leaf development has progressed quickly as well. At Arlington, corn planted on May 15 had emerged and was at the V2 stage as of today. 

As part of our spring routine to prepare for planting the UW hybrid trials around the state, we begin the campaign by maintaining our planter and planting a few rounds of four hybrids as early as possible at Arlington. Over the last few years, we have been able to plant corn in late March. We do not recommend this practice, especially since crop insurance does not kick-in until April 11. We do this to check our planter, observe corn seedling emergence, observe effectiveness of seed treatments, and the effect of early weather (snow and freezing temperatures) on stand establishment. This year field conditions allowed us to plant April 3. Below are pictures of this year's stand and plant development progress as of May 30.

Figure 2. Corn planted on April 3 at Arlington, WI.
Photo taken by Thierno Diallo on May 30.
To enlarge, click on the Figure.

Figure 3. Corn planted on April 3 at Arlington, WI. The crop growth stage is V5.
Photo taken by Thierno Diallo on May 30.
To enlarge, click on the Figure.

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