spot replanting

Areas that received repeated heavy rain will require some spot replanting this spring.

Some farmers will likely be following up a stretch of cool, wet weather with replanting this spring.

While major replanting may not be necessary, many spots will probably need filling in, agronomists say.

“Predominantly, it’s going to be ponds. I don’t think the frost hurt us on replant,” said Bob Lawless, a Syngenta agronomist working in east central Illinois. “Obviously, there’s a lot of standing water. Plants can take some time underwater, but we’re getting to repeated times under water.”

Lawless said most farmers will avoid major replanting.

“Just about everybody will have some places they have to spot in,” he said. “As the calendar keeps clicking off, you make do with the stands. It doesn’t pay to do a lot of replanting, especially corn.”

Independent crop consultant Terry Wyciskalla, who works mainly in southwestern Illinois, also doesn’t expect wholesale replanting.

“Of the ones I’ve looked at so far, I’ve only had one field that needs replanting,” he said. “It’s on the Clinton-Bond county line. They’re going to consider replant on that. It’s an oddball situation. The field is very flat, holds a lot of water and is a terminated cover crop. The seed contact probably wasn’t the best.”

Wyciskalla said the cool, wet weather is more likely to result in yield losses than losses of stands.

“That corn is sucking the energy out of that kernel,” he said. “That’s why a lot of this corn is yellow. It’s not getting good oxygen to the roots. May have standability issues later in the season. That still has to play out.

“If we get some heat units in here and drier conditions, the roots are going to grow. This is why we see yellow corn and not a lot of top growth.”

Joel DeJong, a field agronomist with Iowa State University Extension, said northwest Iowa hasn’t encountered the wet conditions of Illinois.

“We’ve been dry,” DeJong said. “Emergence has been good, although growth has been slow, and we have not had problems with excessive rainfall at all.”

The wet spots will be more of a nuisance than a catastrophe, according to DeJong. And the cool weather stunted early growth.

“It’s going to less whole fields, and a lot of wet holes to fill in,” he said. “It’s an irritation because you’re driving around to half the fields you farm and spotting in an acre or two here and there.

“I can’t remember a spring where I’ve hardly ever worn a short-sleeve shirt. We’re not cranking heat units. That may have helped us, since some wasn’t out of the ground. We’re probably not going to have the populations we want in a lot of places, but it’ll be OK.”

Seed treatments may get some credit for the plants’ ability to withstand the wet, cool conditions.

“A lot of guys are putting the full compliment of coating packages on seed treatments,” Wyciskalla said. “That seems to be really helping.

“Three or four years ago a guy got new planter and planted 40 acres the second or third week of March, just to get his planter going. I monitored it every few days. That corn lay in the ground for 27 days before it spiked. It all came up and had a great stand.”

Nat Williams is Southern Illinois field editor, writing for Illinois Farmer Today, Iowa Farmer Today and Missouri Farmer Today.