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If spring temperatures tend to be above average, growers may anticipatean early planting. However, soil must be given time to warm up before seeds are planted. For optimum germination, corn requires a soil temperature of at least 50° F, and soybeans require a soil temperature of 55° F.1,2 Soil temperatures below optimum can cause seeds to sit dormant and become more vulnerable to diseases, insects, and animal predators.
Imbibitional chilling injury can also take place in corn and soybeans. Seedimbibition is a two-step process where water is absorbed into the seed and the seed swells. Water intake activates enzymatic processes eventually resulting in germination and emergence. If the imbibed moisture comes from a cold source, such as chilling rain, the cell membrane can become rigid and rupture. This may result in damaged or aborted radicles, lower germination, and delayed seedling growth affecting nutrient uptake, seedling development, and pest entry. Symptoms of chilling injury, including swollen seed that has not germinated and a fragile or absent primary root, can also be caused by other factors and may be compoundedby additional stresses during germination.
Proper planting depth is critical for good nodal and brace root growth. The ideal planting depth is dependent upon many factors including geography, soil type, environment, and planting equipment. Remember, most corn planter’s closing wheels are designed for a planting depth of 2 inches.4
Proper planting depth is important in soybeans for good stand establishment. This planting depth is dependent upon many factors including geography, soil type, environment, and planting equipment.