VAN WERT – The longer the wet spring weather pattern continues to stretch out, the more important it is to be keen in managing this year’s corn crop when it does finally go into the grounds, say experts at the Ohio State University Agriculture Extension office.

“Since delayed planting reduces the yield potential of corn, the foremost attention should be given to management practices,” commented Pete Thomison of the Ohio State CORN newsletter.

Thomison especially warned farmers to do all they can to prevent soil compaction.

“Yield reductions resulting from ‘mudding the seed’ in are usually much greater than those resulting from a slight planting delay,” said Thomison. “Yields may be reduced somewhat this year due to delayed planting, but effects of soil compaction can reduce yield for several years to come.”

Ohio State officials emphasized that there is not typically a significant yield reduction until at least mid-May or even later.

Agriculture officials recommend that those who originally planned to apply nitrogen pre-plant, consider alternatives so that planting is not further delayed when favorable planting conditions occur.

In late planting seasons associated with wet cool soil conditions, growers should consider side-dressing anhydrous N and applying a minimum of 30 lb/N broadcast or band it to stimulate early seedling growth, said Thomison. These approaches will allow greater time for planting.

“No-till offers the best option for planting on time,” said Thomison. “Field seedbed preparation should be limited to leveling ruts that may have been left by the previous year’s harvest_ disk or field cultivate very lightly to level. Most newer planters provide relatively good seed placement in trashy or crusted seedbeds.”

Most agriculture officials are encouraging farmers to not worry about switching hybrid maturities unless planting is delayed to late May. If planting is possible before May 20 or 25, planting of full-season hybrids is recommended first to allow them to exploit the full growing season.

“Remember that later planting dates generally increase the possibility of damage from European corn borer and western bean cutworm and warrant planting Bt hybrids that provide protection from these pests if suitable maturities are available,” said Thomison.

Soil temperatures are usually warmer in late-planted fields, and as a result, germination and emergence should be more rapid and uniform. As planting is delayed, growers may be able to reduce seeding rates in anticipation of a higher percentage of seedlings emerging. Adjust seeding depth according to soil conditions and monitor planting depth periodically during the planting operation and adjust for varying soil conditions, added Ag officials.