The Soil Scout Social - Adjusting seed rates according to emergence percentage - Part 2

It's time to discuss Maize! This cereal crop is a staple for many cultures. Maize/corn has been around for centuries, providing sustenance to indigenous cultures across the world and mostly used as fodder for animals and numerous dishes for humans from tortillas to tamales to popcorn.

Unlike other crops, the temperature requirements for maize/corn planting are quite specific, making it one of the most fascinating crops to monitor when it comes to temperature. To ensure optimal germination, soil temperatures at seeding depth should be at least 10°C (50°F). While this is a great starting point, it's important to find a balance between planting early enough to allow for a longer growing season, and not so early that the early development of the plant is put at risk. By monitoring the temperature carefully, farmers can maximise their yield potential and ensure that their maize crop is as successful as possible.

The research team from Lavras Federal University and Bayer Crop Science in Brazil conducted a comprehensive study to assess the emergence speed and percentages of various maize varieties, with respect to their varying temperature tolerances. Astonishingly, it was observed that the highest emergence percentage occurred in much cooler soil, even though the emergence speed was slower than in the other conditions tested. This discovery has valuable implications for the selection of crop varieties adapted to different climatic conditions.

The detailed results on the soil temperature dependence of different varieties provide insight that could be applicable to other varieties being utilised in colder climates. It is important to note, however, that the fastest emerging variety may not necessarily create the most uniform crop. This finding should not be disregarded, regardless of climate or variety.

By combining real-time soil temperature monitoring data with emergence speed and percentage observations on each individual farm and variety, farmers can gain invaluable insight into the correct seed rate increment factor. This factor can then be used to adjust seed rate depending on soil temperature, resulting in a more uniform crop density regardless of the conditions. By utilising this technology, farmers are able to optimise their planting process and ensure optimal crop growth.

When it comes to planting crops, yields are generally more reliable when done earlier rather than later in the season. To ensure a successful yield, farmers should plant 10 days before the ideal window for optimal soil temperature. This way, the same crop density can be accomplished with a lower seed rate. Ultimately, planting early in the season can help ensure a more stable yield.

Stay with us weekly to explore the agronomic advantages of monitoring soil temperature together. You can also ask one of our soil monitoring experts a question to answer next week.. Click here to send an email with your question

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James Baylis

Head of Creative Content at Soil Scout. With over 20 years experience in the design, media and photographic industries, James has a passion for promoting the Soil Scout solution through creative content and marketing.