March Soil Temps Hovering Below 50 Degrees

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Recent March weather has been pretty mild and encouraged some producers to think about planting corn. Early planted dryland corn is usually lower in pest pressure and often better yielding, based on past year’s data. Corn fields planted on or after March 21st qualify for crop insurance.  Unfortunately, as we learned in recent years, early planting is not a guarantee of success if conditions aren’t right to get a uniform stand. The best planting conditions include soil that is dry enough to minimize planter sidewall compaction, with soil temperatures above 50 degrees and a favorable weather forecast for the next 3 days to hasten corn emergence.

Based on scouting reports from a few counties, soils are still running on the heavy side, while planting temperatures are slowly improving to where we need to be for corn.  We monitored soil temps at Jackson for the past four days (2 inch depth at 9 am) and our average was in the mid 40’s beneath both a burned down or green mixed cover crop. Today’s soil (Thursday) was the warmest at 48 to 49 degrees which is still on the cool side if the expectation is a minimum of 50 degrees.  It looks like we are making progress towards better planting conditions, just not quite there yet.

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