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Planting corn and soybeans early has many benefits in Pennsylvania and New York. Yield potential can be maximized, pest pressure can be reduced, and the potential for early fall frost damage can be mitigated. After a long winter and the arrival of spring, many growers want to get into the field. However, planting too early can have a negative impact on yield. It is important to plant according to soil temperature and conditions as opposed to the calendar.
Figure 1. A corn seedling that suffered from chilling injury.
Symptoms of chilling injury can also be caused by other factors and may be compounded by additional stresses during germination. These stresses may include herbicide injury, disease, or soil crusting. Since symptoms are not unique to chilling injury they can be hard to decipher. Typical symptoms of chilling injury may include a swollen seed that has not germinated as well as a fragile or absent primary root.
The longer an area remains saturated, the higher the risk of plant death. Experts believe that young corn can survive approximately 4 days of flooding if temperatures are relatively cool (mid-60°'s F or cooler). If temperatures are warm (mid-70°'s or warmer) survival will be less than 4 days. For soybean, the duration of time is different. Typically, yield losses are not noted in fields flooded for 2 days or less. Four days or more of flooding stresses the crop, delays plant growth, and causes shorter plants with fewer nodes. Six days can cause significant yield loss and flooding for a week or more can result in entire loss of stand. Warmer weather may shorten all of these durations.
Figure 2. Pennsylvania divided into four planting zones with different recommended corn relative maturities. Source: Courtesy of Penn State1
Sources: 1 Penn State Cooperative Extension. 2011. Approximate relative maturity rating and growing degree days available for Pennsylvania corn maturity zones. 2 Cox, B. and Atkins, P. 2011. A Broad Optimum Planting Date forCorn? Cornell University. Crop Management. What's Cropping Up? Vol. 21 No.1. 3 Hatley, E. and Yocum, J. O. 2011. Soybean Production in Pennsylvania. Penn State Extension, Crop and Soil Sciences; 4 Cox, B. and Shields, E. 2011. When To Plant Soybeans in New York? Cornell University; Additional references used in developing publication: Al-Kaisi, M. and Pedersen, P. 2007. Wet Conditions: Challenges and Opportunities. Iowa State University Extension. Integrated Crop Management. ICM > 2007 > IC-498 (9) -- May 7, 2007;Bohner, Horst. 2003. Do Soil Temperatures at Planting Effect Soybean Yield. Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs. Ontario. Crop Talk; Elmore, R. and Abendroth, L. 2008. Flooded Corn and Saturated Soils. Iowa State University Extension. May, 30, 2008; Extension educational partnership of 74 universities in the United States, Corn Germination and Emergence. October 2, 2008; Iowa State University. 2006. Did the recent cold weather affect corn germination and seedling growth? Integrated Crop Management. May 1, 2006; Kennel, H. S. 2011. Seed Germination. Washington State University Extension; Leopold, A.C. 1983. Volumetric Components of Seed Imbibition. Plant Physiol. 73 (1983) 677-680; Nielsen, R.L., 2008. Effects of Flooding or Ponding on Young Corn. Corn News Network Articles. June 2008; Nielsen, R.L. 2008. Crappy stands of corn. Dept. of Agronomy. Purdue Univ. May 25, 2006; Nielsen, R.L. 2008. More Thoughts on Late Corn Planting. Purdue University. Corny News Network Articles. May 23, 2008. Individual results may vary, and performance may vary from location to location and from year to year. This result may not be an indicator of results you may obtain as local growing, soil and weather conditions may vary. Growers should evaluate data from multiple locations and years whenever possible. ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW PESTICIDE LABEL DIRECTIONS. Leaf Design℠ is a servicemark of Monsanto Company. ©2012 Monsanto Company. AMB040311, AMB030712