Avoid Rushing Into Unfit Fields

soiltemp-march14It’s been a long, cold winter. With temperatures averaging 20° below normal last month and snowfall averaging 2 feet above normal across many areas in Latham Country, we’re all eager for spring. The date on the calendar shows that spring has arrived, but it’s in name only!

March continues to be a battle between seasons with wintery in the short-term forecast. Frost ran deep, and it’s going to be a while before conditions are fit for planting. Remember to let soil temperatures and soil conditions – not the calendar – dictate your planting date. Wait until soil temperatures in a region reach at least 50° before you plant corn and somewhere between 55° to 60° before you plant soybeans.

Soil temperature for soybean planting is more critical than for corn because soybeans can germinate in a soil environment of about 55° Fahrenheit. If the air temperature after germination hits 28 degrees Fahrenheit or less, however, the young seedling can be killed with the growing point of the plant right at emergence. Adversely for corn, the growing point stays under the surface until much later.