Optimum corn planting date for Michigan

The beginning to mid-May is the optimum corn planting period in Michigan. Despite the higher than normal degree day accumulations this year, there are still no agronomic or economic advantages to planting corn before April 20.

The abnormally early warm weather has contributed to higher than normal growing degree accumulations in Michigan. These conditions have forced most perennial crops out of their dormant states. Does this also translate to much earlier planting dates for corn? The short answer is no. Most corn hybrids will not germinate if the soil temperature is below 50°F. Frost damage to early planted corn is always a concern.

Previous planting date research has shown that there would be no agronomic or economic advantages for planting corn before April 20 in Michigan. For much of Michigan, the optimum corn planting period usually is from the beginning to middle of May. Because of the shortness of the optimum period, most growers plant some corn before and after the optimum dates. It is usually an advantage to error on the early side compared to the late side of the optimum period. If the field conditions are right and the calendar says late April, then plant if the soil temperature is above 50°F. Also, if applicable, make sure that you are within the planting period specified in your crop insurance policy.

To learn more about soil temperatures, visit Enviro-weather. Click on a yellow dot nearest your location and look under daily data.

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