Do Dry Soils at Planting Lead to Yield Loss?

It’s likely that Midwest farmers could complete spring 2012 planting at a record pace after a dry fall and winter.

To help determine the impact of dry soils at planting, Iowa State University’s Roger Elmore has employed a hybrid-maize modeling tool.  Elmore, a professor of agronomy with research and extension responsibilities in corn production, says he varied soil moisture conditions at planting to simulate different possibilities.  Overall, his simulations show that yields will be reduced at many of ISU’s research locations if soil moisture conditions do not improve by planting time.

Every area is different, however.  Subsoil moisture levels certainly vary across Latham’s six-state marketing area.  Gary Geske of Enderlin, North Dakota, serves as Latham Hi-Tech Seeds’ corn product specialist for the north.  In a recent issue of Midwest Producer he said, “We’ve got dry topsoil, but it seems dry because we are used to it being so wet.  With a couple of timely spring rains, I’m anticipating a good growing season.”

Dry soils are welcome while the planters are rolling, but spring rains will be needed once the seed is in the ground for timely emergence, growth and ultimately yield.