As I have been out looking at fields recently, I have seen a few things that you should keep top of mind this time of year.
First, I looked at a field that was planted early in April and the corn had just started to sprout, it was an inch to an inch and a half long. Next, I went to look at a field on the same farm that was planted after the cold rains subsided. This corn had been in the ground a little over a week and it could be rowed easily. I would expect that the early-planted corn will not have the same stand quality as the later planted corn and the early planted corn will also experience other issues from being in the ground so long. I recommended that this field would need to be closely watched for diseases. Plus, with the cool weather, all the insects are still there to attack the corn, so all the fields need to be monitored to make sure no damage is being done.
There are a few “old-timer” sayings that I reference often in these situations. The first is: Wait on planting until the elm or hedge tree leaves are the size of a squirrel’s ear. A lot of corn was planted way before that and could now be having issues. The other is: Wait to plant until you see the maple tree’s seed. These are the “helicopters” you see that clog your gutters and make you climb a ladder to do spring cleanup. I have always been told if there are a lot of seeds on the maple trees, then it is a good corn year. I have been watching the maples around my yard for over 30 years and this saying nearly always rings true. There have been very few seeds this year. So that tells me that it will be critical to make sure you continue to work your plan for success and do not give up on the crop. I have seen lower numbers of maple seeds before and that has resulted in very challenging years. In those situations, I have seen farmers that stopped following their plan and had disappointing results. Long story short, remember to stick to your Maximum Profit System™ plan and reap the rewards. We are going to need every ear this year.