Corn soybean planting

Warmer temperatures and great soil conditions in portions of the state allowed the planting season to begin this week. Everything we do at planting sets the stage for the rest of the year. With tight economics, it’s important to make wise decisions with the factors we can control during planting season. The following research-based tips are updated from this 2019 CropWatch article for consideration.

Proper soil conditions

  • Compaction can occur from driving on or tilling in wet soils, creating clods and hard pans. Sidewall compaction can occur when injecting fertilizer or planting seed into wet soils when it’s being “mudded in.”
  • Plant into soil temps as close to 50°F as possible. Check weather conditions for the next 48 hours and avoid saturated soil conditions. If planting a few degrees less than 50°F, make sure to check with seed dealers on more cold-tolerant seed, and only plant if the forecast is calling for warm temperatures the next few days that would also help increase the soil temperature. Once planted, corn seeds need a 48-hour window and soybean seeds need at least a 24-hour window when the soil temperature at planting depth does not drop much below 50°F and no cold rains are anticipated.

Proper planting window vs. calendar date

Proper planting depth

Aim to get corn and soybean in the ground 1.5-2 inches deep. This keeps corn and soybean seed in even soil temperature and moisture conditions. In spite of monitors showing down force and seeding depth, it’s still important to get out and check seeding depth across the planter in each field.

Seeding rates

Final Thoughts

Planting does set the stage for the remainder of the year! Agronomically and economically, it’s important to do this right the first time.

If you’re interested in testing any of these considerations for yourself, a number of on-farm research protocols are available for various production practices or products. You can view them online or contact your local Extension cropping system’s educator.

Jenny Rees and Megan Taylor are Nebraska Extension Educators. Roger Elmore is a Nebraska Extension Cropping Systems Agronomist. Jim Specht is a University of Nebraska Emeritus Professor of Agronomy.