Planting corn on time typically means a better chance to make good yields. Not this year.
The tempestuous spring weather, including heavy downpours and hail, created problems farmers could have avoided if they had waited a bit longer to plant.
That’s the assessment of Texas A&M AgriLife Research plant physiologist Qingwu Xue, who works out of the Amarillo Research and Extension Center.
Xue said he did not intentionally start out emphasizing planting dates on his corn studies. But what he saw on his hybrid trials near Bushland showed what a tremendous difference the planting date can make in a stressful year.
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Xue generally plants anywhere from three to five different corn trials on the AgriLife Research farms around Bushland, including some comparing hybrid production under different irrigation rates and others for chemical efficacy.
“It seems every year the Texas High Plains presents its own unique challenges,” Xue said. “Some years it is drought, but this year was a historically wet year that included hail storms and insect and disease problems.”
He planted corn on four dates this year. The first two planting dates were May 18 and June 3. A hailstorm with severe wind struck on June 14 and caused losses of up to 60 percent of the stand on the May 18 planting. Read more about corn planting dates.