Spring Planting is Really Really Slow

Published On: April 30, 2022
Wet-Corn-Field-Midwest-copyright-Virginia Dahms

Trent Brandenburg has been hunting dry fields to plant.  At the end of April 2022,  he has planted about 20% of his corn and 20% of his beans.   Trent doesn’t believe the early planting will make much difference because the seed has yet to germinate.  “It’s too cold,” Trent observed.  “If we have a good growing season, we’ll be all right,” he concluded.

Central Illinois farm operators like to plant in April in order to maximize yields.  Very little planting occurred in April 2022 because it has rained almost every day, keeping most fields too wet to plant.  Working the heavy clay soils when they are too wet causes compaction which inhibits drainage and aeration, both needed for optimum plant growth.  The high base exchange capacity of the heavy soils holds more fertilizer ions for better plant development and higher yields.   So every year farmers do a dance around the weather and soil conditions to plant for better yields.

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It's Pretty Spongy Trent Brandenburg wants to begin his spring fieldwork, but reports the soil is "pretty spongy". He is hauling grain and is hampered by the wet soil in getting his trucks into his bins to load. This past [...]

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