Focus on AG: Crop planting progresses rapidly across the state

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By Kent Thiesse
Farm Management Analyst & Vice President MinnStar Bank Lake Crystal

The corn crop in southern Minnesota and Northern Iowa was planted in very rapid fashion during the last half of April, as nearly ideal soil conditions existed in most areas.
Crop experts have estimated that with today’s larger farm equipment, as much as 15 percent of the corn raised in a given area can be planted in one day, when field and soil conditions are at optimal levels. As of May 4, it was estimated that 90-95 percent of the 2015 corn crop has been planted at most locations in south Central and southwest Minnesota, with significant progress on soybean planting as well.
Many producers that have finished their corn planting moved directly to planting soybeans, taking advantage of the above normal temperatures this past week. University agronomists indicate that soybeans can be planted up until about May 20-25 in most areas of Minnesota in order to maintain optimum yields; however, soybeans planted earlier in May tend to have a bit more yield potential in most years in southern Minnesota. In general, soybean yields are much less sensitive to planting dates than corn.
Soil temperatures warmed up considerably during the last week of April, with the 24-hour average soil temperatures at the 2-4 inch range getting well above the desired level 50 degrees level. In fact, the average soil temperatures in the planting zone reached 60 degrees this past weekend. Research shows that 50 percent corn emergence will occur in 20 days at an average soil temperature of 50 degrees, which is reduced to only 10 days at an average soil temperature of 60 degrees. The period from April 21-26 had soil temperatures that were much cooler than desired for optimal planting and growing conditions.
Some of the early planted corn in that was planted around April 15-20 is now emerging, and crop stands look very good. Based on University and seed company research, the ideal window to plant corn in for optimum yield potential in Southern Minnesota is April 15-May 5.

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