Gentlemen, start your planters! We have a little corn in the ground this week. Rain kept most folks from planting corn extremely early, and that may turn out to be a good thing if April weather becomes as volatile as we know it can be. Weather conditions look favorable for planting next week— with mostly dry and mild temps after this next system passes through. We are not “too early” at this point and I hope that folks with several acres ahead of them will be able to at least start planting corn during the last week in March. March 21 is the first date to plant corn in Tennessee and qualify for full coverage crop insurance. Based on planting date data from Milan for 2010 and 2011, planting corn the first week of April can make our best yields but the last week in March has run a close second. If June and July 2012 weather is a repeat of the past 2 years, we will need to plant corn by mid-April for our best yields. Our goal should be to plant a field one time and plant as early as practical (no planting into mud please!). Sidewall compaction and a whole host of issues make forced planting a terrible idea compared to waiting just a few days for ground to dry up a little more. With popular hybrids sold out or in very short supply, a replant is not only expensive but will mean we end up planting our fourth or fifth (or tenth) choice of seed which won’t make anyone very happy. Plant corn 2 inches deep in most situations.