While it’s been a cool spring in Ontario, an early melt in Western Canada meant some fields were dry enough to plant several weeks ago. However, the date on the calendar and the temperature reading on the soil thermometer both say it’s probably too early to introduce vulnerable corn seed to its new home. The odds that cold temperatures will injure the seed are still too high.
In 2014, weather conditions led some Manitoba farmers to plant before soil temperatures were warm enough, he notes, which resulted in reduced plant stands, seed treatment effectiveness and plant vigour.
So how should a grower decide when to start planting corn? It turns out it’s not only the neighbours who will benefit if you use a soil thermometer instead of the pants-down method (watch the video for an explanation.)
“For corn it’s really important that we have 50 degree Fahrenheit or 10 Celsius on a consistent basis. Temperatures should not drop below that, even at night,” says Schwarz.