Correction (and More) on Planting Depth

April 14, 2000
The corn planting article in last week's bulletin contained an error: a fraction was dropped. It indicated that corn should not be planted more than 1 inch deep, when in fact the original statement was that corn should be planted no more than 1 3/4 inches deep. Most readers probably recognized that something was missing; corn planters should never be set to plant only 1 inch deep.

Soils have continued to dry, and the urge to plant deeper has probably strengthened in many areas. Because the soils remain cool, and in many places the moisture at planting depth is low enough that there will need to be rain before the crop emerges anyway, it is probably still unwise to plant more than 1 1/2 to 2 inches deep. We expect problems in cases where the soil moisture is marginal, such that some plants will get enough moisture to emerge and others won't. It's difficult to predict that, but tillage of marginally dry soil will often contribute to this problem. If you expect that to be the case, you might even consider waiting to plant such fields until some rain falls. We do know that uneven emergence, which could be widespread this year, reduces yield even if we end up with a full stand.

The corn we planted on March 10 here at Urbana is just starting to emerge, though it didn't look very "pleased" about it when I saw it yesterday. The frost this morning (April 12) will likely cause another setback on its way up and out, though there isn't much leaf area yet to be frosted.--Emerson Nafziger

Author: Emerson Nafziger