2016 corn season underway
Joe Lauer Extension Corn Agronomist
Department of Agronomy
UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
3:05 – Total Time
0:17 – Corn planting has good start
0:40 – Early season start
1:01 – Early starts favor corn yields
1:26 – Characteristics of a good season
2:05 – Degree units drive emergence, season
2:57 – Lead out
Sevie Kenyon: Is 2016 setting up to be a good corn yield year? We’re visiting today with Joe Lauer, Department of Agronomy, University of Wisconsin-Madison/Extension in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and I’m Sevie Kenyon.
Joe, the planting season is underway, what do you see here so far?
Joe Lauer: Well, we’re off to a good start; weather’s cooperated pretty well. We’ve started to plant our research plots around the state. Things are progressing well. We had kind of a slow start, but these last couple week’s Mother Nature’s really cooperating, we’ve had pretty good weather to get a lot of corn in.
Sevie Kenyon: And Joe, is this an early start, a late start, how would you characterize it?
Joe Lauer: I would characterize it as really kind of an early start, at least in the southern half of the state where a lot of corn acres are. We’ve had fairly good weather to be able to do a lot of our field work, so farmers are really turning to corn planting in a fairly big way.
Sevie Kenyon: And Joe, what does an early start help do?
Joe Lauer: If you look at some of the record jumps that we’ve had in terms of yields, there are four or five characteristics of those kinds of years. One characteristic is that we typically get the corn planted early. We complete the planting early throughout the state and that sets up the season then for good potential yields and dry corn at the end of the season.
Sevie Kenyon: What are those characteristics of a big yield year?
Joe Lauer: Well early planting is one thing. Another characteristic is that we get just enough rain in May to activate herbicides, but then following that a kind of a mini-drought if you will in the early part of June to get those roots growing deep into the soil. Later some good one-inch rains beginning about the middle of July on and then a good sunny, dry fall for harvest; dries that corn down well and kind of finishes the crop off. Those characteristics are often times indicative of the years where we have a good jump.
Sevie Kenyon: Joe, once the corn is planted what should people begin to see?
Joe Lauer: We have some pretty good models of what it takes in terms of heat units to be able to have those corn plants emerge. We planted some corn this year April 14 and it takes about 125 to 135 growing degree units to get out of the ground. We hit that mark of about 125 units and my crew was out looking at the plots we planted on the 14th and sure enough the plants were just starting to poke out of the field. So, it took about 16-18 days or so for that crop to emerge and it’s kind of right on track. After that corn emerges, we can pretty well predict when it’s going to go through various stages. It takes about 2 to 3 days for each leaf to emerge and we can kind of predict our management operations then with some of this corn modeling that we do.
Sevie Kenyon: We’ve been visiting with Joe Lauer, Department of Agronomy, University of Wisconsin-Madison/Extension in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and I’m Sevie Kenyon.