Time to Plant? Stop, Go, Think Again.

Apr 24, 2024

soil thermometer showing under 50 degrees
In a spring that’s on-again, off-again, knowing when it’s time to plant is a shaky proposition.
“It takes 150 growing degree units to get corn out of the ground,” said Kevin Carlson, Federated’s agronomy sales manager, adding, you need to look for “a stable [planting] environment.”
And when do you find that environment?
  • When soil temperatures in the morning are steadily at 50 degrees F or higher.
  • When nighttime air temperatures aren’t dipping below the 40s.
  • When weather conditions for the 48 hours following planting look favorable.
    • No dramatic dips in temps. (This past week in east-central MN and western WI was pretty “normal” in that regard.)
    • No cold precipitation; it cools soil quickly. (A warm rain event is ok, even good.)
You can plant with good soil temps and a good short-range forecast and avoid “the chilling effect,” said Carlson.
The environments across Federated’s growing areas vary:
  • Some beans were planted in Albertville just before April 15.
    • True pre-emerge herbicide application will have a slightly bigger window due to the lower temps and cool rains last week.
  • The soil temp in Isanti, in heavy soil, was at 45 degrees F last week. 
  • The soil temp in North Branch sandy soil on April 23 was 54 degrees F; the week prior those soils were right at 50 degrees F. 
“Most growers know when it’s go time,” said Carlson. But if you have questions, contact your Federated Agronomist.

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