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MN CropCast: An in-depth discussion about successful corn and soybean planting in 2024

In episode #32 Dave Nicolai and Seth Naeve chat with Dr. Jeff Coulter, University of Minnesota Extension corn agronomist about planting the 2024 corn crop in Minnesota. In addition, Seth, U of MN Extension soybean specialist, discusses the outlook for soybean planting this spring. Jeff talks about optimal corn planting dates, desired soil conditions, corn planting populations and corn maturity hybrid planting dates. Seth also discusses in detail the results of early soybean planting date research and recommendations for soybean planting populations.

While recent snow/rain events in Minnesota decreased the level of moderate drought (D1) ratings in Minnesota to 43% as of March 28th compared to 75% the previous week, Minnesota is still in the category of “Abnormally dry”. However, both agronomists indicate that April precipitation can still have a significant effect on increasing soil moisture, thus corn and soybean planting should proceed in a traditional timetable based on soil conditions and temperatures. 

Both Jeff and Seth reference the University of Minnesota Extension Crop management web pages for corn and soybeans as excellent starting points to review guidelines, best practices and potential issues for planting as well as seeding rates based on University of Minnesota applied research trials.
In summary: Jeff notes that a field is ready for seedbed preparation when soil in the tillage zone crumbles when squeezed. In contrast, planting on wet soils can create a cloddy seedbed and cause seed furrows to open after planting, diminishing seed-to-soil contact. Good seed-to-soil contact is important, so seeds can quickly and evenly absorb moisture and emerge uniformly. In term of planting times, Jeff cites research that Minnesota corn growers maximize yield when planting in late April or early May. When spring arrives early, a mid-April planting date can produce similar yield as planting in late April or early May.

Seth discusses the feasibility of early soybean planting in Minnesota if growers pay attention to the five-day forecast prior to planting and avoid planting when the near-term forecast calls for extreme cold and wet weather. In terms of planting date affecting soybean yield potential, Seth refers to the U of MN soybean management web pages which indicate that soybean planting by May 1 generally can result in 100% of maximum yield and only drops to 99% if planted by May 5th.

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Weather and climate references

  • Historic spring and fall frost/freeze date occurrences by county (
  •  Precipitation and temperature outlooks for April released by the USDA Midwest Agricultural and Climate Team as of April 3rd (occurred after the podcast recording)

What is Minnesota CropCast?

Hosts David Nicolai and Seth Naeve discuss the progress and challenges of Minnesota's agronomic crops in this new podcast. They are joined by a diversity of specialists representing all crops and agronomic disciplines to discuss their research and its impact on future Minnesota crops. Dave Nicolai is a crops Extension educator and Seth Naeve is the Extension soybean agronomist.

How do I sign up?

You can subscribe and listen to Minnesota CropCast using one of many popular podcasting apps or directories. Learn more.

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