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When Do You Plant Crops?

Farmers Plant Corn
Mark Hirsch, Getty Images

I have been asked several times recently by various people the question about when do farmers start planting. My answer didn’t have anything to do with a calendar, but instead ground temperature.

Spring soil temperatures and field conditions vary from year to year. Keep this in mind and base your planting decisions on the current situation, rather than the date on the calendar.

Planting date is a critical management factor to help minimize the risks associated with suboptimal conditions for germination. Successful corn emergence is a combination of three key factors:
•    Environment – temperature, residue, compaction and water
•    Genetics – stress tolerance and vigor
•    Seed quality – harvest moisture, drying and conditioning
It is generally recommended to plant when soil temperatures are at or above 50 degrees and the near-term forecast shows a warming trend. Planting into cold, wet soils inflicts stress on corn seed emergence, as does planting just ahead of a cold spell.

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