Thursday, April 24, 2014

Be Aware of Soil Temperatures When Planting Corn

Some factors to ponder when planting:
  • Soil temperature (covered below)
  • Soil Moisture
  • Soil Surface Crusting Potential
  • Soil to Seed Contact
  • Soil Compaction

Corn should be planted when soil temperatures are in the mid-50s. Burrus encourages you check out the most recent soil temperatures in Illinois and Missouri by going to our website (    

Soil temperatures can also be taken by using a thermometer.  Be sure to focus on not only the maximums soil temperatures, but also the minimum soil temperatures.  If corn emergence appears to be low or variable, this could be a result of uneven soil temperatures or soils that consist of a temperature below 50 degrees F.  

Variable soil temperatures can be due to soil color, poor soil drainage, residue on soil surface, or too deep of a seedling depth.  Darker soils will tend to warm faster than lighter soils.  Dryer areas will warm faster than wet areas of the field.  Heavy crop residue on the soil surface can also hinder soil temperature increases. Deeper planting can help the seed reach more moisture, but be careful, because it can also subject seed to cooler soil zones, which could inhibit emergence.

Picture courtesy of

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