Not Too Late to Plant Field Corn

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Typically, NCSU data shows that early planted corn has the highest probability to reach maximum yield while corn planted mid to late April has the highest probability of failure. Simply put, later planted corn has a greater probability of reaching the critical silk stage at a time of very low soil moisture and low probability of rainfall. However, over the past four years, corn planted in May has yielded higher than corn planted in April. Thus, even though frequent rainfalls have saturated soils and delayed corn planting, producers should not yet be discouraged.

Dr. Ron Heiniger, NCSU Crop Science Department, recently published an article discussing this issue. Several key factors are still favorable for later planted corn. As example, soil moisture and optimum temperature are excellent so germination should not be a concern. Too, many varieties are better suited for drought conditions thus tend to be more consistent in yield than in years past. Furthermore, long-range forecast predict good rainfall patterns from early to mid-July. Thus, planting late may actually be favorable in 2015.

There is a date when planting corn is no longer a low-risk option. At this point, some other crop should be considered rather than corn. Generally, after May 15th, corn yield potential decreases about 2 bu/day. Too, late-planted corn should be managed slightly differently due to susceptibility to diseases, delayed maturity, potential damage from tropical storm systems, etc. Read more in the short article from Dr. Ron Heiniger, Planting Corn Late in 2015.