Tips for Planting and Growing Corn

Some may consider corn as an easy crop to grow, but you can face a hurdle of challenges if you don’t have the proper corn planting process. Learning how to plant seed corn is essential to the success of your crop yields and your property’s bottom line.
Using the tips below, you will gain a better understanding of how to plant seed corn effectively and increase your crop yields.

Seeding Date

The best yields are often achieved when corn seeds are planted between late April and the beginning of May. This means that you can take advantage of the entire growing season, instead of planting later in the season when you will have less time.  It also reduces the risk of damage to your crop yield from an early frost toward the end of the growing season, an especially present threat in our Canadian climate. Just make sure you don’t plant too early in the planting season so your corn isn’t caught in a late spring frost.

Project Ahead

While you may have a general idea of when to start planting corn seeds, you should always turn to the upcoming weather to select the right date. Looking ahead ten days in the forecast will give you a good idea of whether or not you are seeding at the right time. It’s not enough just to keep the flowering date in mind; you must also be aware of any immediate weather-based threats, such as cold snaps, torrential downpours, or especially humid conditions, and plan accordingly.

Population

Plant a population of seeds for the most effective emergence. The preferred recommendation is planting 10% more seeds than the final crop yield you are aiming to achieve. The industry average for germination is around 95%, and while De Dell seeds have a history of performing well north of that, it is always a good idea to mitigate risks beyond your control whenever possible.

Soil Moisture

Ensure that the soil you are planting in is moist. If your soil is dry, it makes it more difficult for the seed to latch into the dirt and grow effectively. However, you must also be mindful to avoid the effects of soil compaction. Soil compaction occurs when the ground does not allow nutrients to reach the seed, and can happen when your soil becomes too moist. Moisture can be gained through irrigation and natural conditions, while soil compaction is fought off by avoiding excessive field work.

Planting Depth

Planting correctly isn’t only about having the right soil conditions; the depth of your corn seeds is also important. If seeds are planted too shallow then they will have nowhere to grow; if they are planted too deep then cold soil can negate their growth. The ideal depth is between 3-5 cm, shallow enough for the warmer temperatures that exist near the surface, but also still deep enough to access moisture that seeds need to grow effectively.

Proper spacing for growth

When planting corn in rows, you want to ensure the you give each plant enough space to thrive. Most corn hybrids have a flex type ear on them which will continue to grow under the proper conditions. These types of hybrids like to be planted at a moderate population between 28,000 to 32,000 plants per acre. Other hybrids have a more determinant ear which means they grow to a fixed size and can handle a higher planting population from 32,000 to as high as 40,000 plants per acre. Consult with your local De Dell Dealer for the optimal planting populations for hybrids on your farm.

Plant with Uniformity

The best way to plant corn seeds is to plant with uniformity. As your corn is emerging, it’s important that it isn’t overshadowing other corn crops that are just beginning to grow. If corn is overshadowed, it will lose out on important wind pollination. Planting corn in uniform rows can help mitigate risk of overshadowing so that your corn crops have access to the elements they need to grow.

Soil Temperature

The corn planting process is dependant on soil temperature, as corn tends to struggle in cooler and extremely hot temperatures. The optimum soil temperature for growth of corn occurs at any point above 10 degrees celsius. On the other hand, growing corn becomes risky when your soil is warmer than 38 degrees. Keep things pleasantly warm, and avoid overly hot soil conditions.

Soil Type

Certain soil types lend themselves more to planting corn, and it is important to know whether or not your soil is suited for optimized growth and emergence. For example, fine-textured soils are less able to hold onto water and moisture, when compared to medium or coarse textured soils. Understanding the kind of soil you’re dealing with, such as a soil which takes longer to warm up to the temperatures needed for seed growth, is an essential aspect of growing corn.

Tiling Your Crops

Tilling is an important process when growing corn, because it can help loosen soil up to give it the best opportunity to grow seeds. When preparing to plant seed corn, ensure that you are tilling effectively — but not unnecessarily. Avoid working wet soil, because excessive tilling can hurt your soil’s ability to remain fertile, and therefore lowers potential crop yields.

Field-By-Field Planting

The best way to plant corn is to treat each crop as though it were an entirely unique harvest. Adjust your planting rate based on your specific fields conditions, instead of generalizing the planting process. This will help you produce maximum yields, allowing you to adjust the planting based on unique soil conditions for each plot of land.

Avoid Improper Growing Conditions

Avoid planting on poorly drained soils or soil prone to ponding. Ponding happens when large amounts of water causes your crops to become submerged, putting them at an increased risk of dying, and ultimately resulting in lower crop yields. If ponding is unavoidable in your crops, there are steps you can take to manage drainage.

Don’t Forget to Fertilize

Corn is a hungry seed, and it requires fertilizer to keep it fed. Never hesitate to fertilize your crops – the nitrogen provided in fertilizer is exactly what corn seeds need to grow healthily. Fertilizers provide the additional nutrients that seeds cannot get anywhere else.

Use Proper Weed Management Techniques

Weeds can often steal the nutrients from soil and water when they surround corn seeds. Due to the depth at which seed corn is planted, it’s important to make sure that you are managing weed populations using mechanical weeding techniques or herbicides.
Using these tips, planting corn can become more effective and profitable for your farm. The best way to remain competitive when planting corn is having the right tools to succeed, and that often starts with having the right kind of corn seeds to benefit your crop yields. Make the most of these tips with the right seeds to help boost your crop yields and increase the profitability of your land.
Browse De Dell’s selection of seed corn here and start planting today.

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