The warm weather and relatively dry field conditions over the last week have allowed for a significant portion of the corn crop to be planted across the state; the USDA should release the first crop progress report next week. With the rainfall we have received across the region this weekend through tomorrow (3/28), soil moisture levels should remain adequate to ensure good germination and emergence when planting resumes.
A few things to be mindful of while planting:
Hybrid placement – evaluate county level hybrid trials and statewide OVT data, if possible, to understand how particular hybrids perform in irrigated vs. dryland conditions. Then try to place those hybrids on your farm accordingly. Hybrid selection is probably one of our most critical decisions that we make each year.
Nematicides – If you have not sampled your fields for nematodes in the past, it may be worthwhile doing. Pulling a sample to evaluate whether or not nematodes are present in the field and what species are present is important for management strategies. If high levels are present, an at-plant nematicide or crop rotation to a non-host crop (if possible, depending on species) may be warranted. Once the furrow has closed, our options for controlling nematodes utilizing a nematicide are over for that growing season. Clemson has been evaluating corn nematicides over the last few years; if you have any questions, please let us know.
In-furrow Liquid Products – Several “new” offerings are available through retailers that can be applied in-furrow while planting. These products include biologicals and fertilizers. Depending on the product and rate, I would use caution with applying fertilizer in-furrow due to the increased likelihood of seed or seedling injury. The “reward” from utilizing these fertilizer products in-furrow does not always outweigh the risk, especially if soils have been maintained appropriately through soil testing and N, P, & K additions. In terms of biologicials, we are currently evaluating several different products in both corn and soybean, if you plan to use these products on your farm this year I would challenge you to leave a few untreated strips in fields across the farm to evaluate any yield response at harvest.
If you have any questions, please contact your local county agent.