Opinion: The 10 Commandments of Corn Planting

Opinion: The 10 Commandments of Corn Planting

Casey Kasem made a pretty good living counting down the hits each weekend (along with being the voice of Shaggy in “Scooby Doo”). And there’s no doubt we love our lists — there was David Letterman’s top 10, the 12 days of Christmas, and the grand-daddy of them all, the 10 Commandments.

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This list isn’t quite as serious as Moses coming down Mt. Sinai. It’s more like the Mel Brooks movie where he came down the mountain with 15 commandments, but dropped a tablet of five so we were left to walk through life with 10 commandments.

Anyways, as we go through each planting season we see a lot of good “rules of thumb” and a lot of mistakes. There are a lot of good habits from growers, and tons of bad. We see guys who hustle and guys who are just looking to check the box and get on to something else.

In an attempt to bring years of knowledge together in one place and hopefully give people a good laugh, I’ve put together my own list. Here then are the 10 Commandments of Corn Planting:

Commandment 10: Don’t plant by the calendar, plant by conditions.

It’s simple enough. Whether your agronomist says April 15th is the day you have to plant (I’ve seen this happen) or weather has pushed you back to late May, you need to make sure conditions are right for planting corn. Don’t push it just because the calendar is staring at you.

Commandment 9: Don’t know when to plant? Watch the neighbors and plant between the crazies and the lazies.

Learned this one at Precision Planting training. There’s so much info out there about ground temperature, GDU’s to emergence, plant so many days before the first rainfall, etc. If you’re not sure about all of that watch the neighbors and when you see the first guy planting and you think “he’s crazy” you know you’re getting close to go time. The lazies are the guys who plant a month after everyone else. Who knows why but every community has them.

Commandment 8: If you absolutely must run your planter early, go plant some beans.

This is a new one to me and to tell the truth I was skeptical. But your beans can take a lot more stress in the ground than the corn seed. We feel you should strive for the same emergence and spacing in beans as corn but let’s face it, there just isn’t as much stress in planting beans. So go knock out a few fields and then switch over to corn.

Commandment 7: Flag test your emergence. Don’t guess at performance, you can’t manage it unless you measure it.

Randy Dowdy got me going on this one. If you’re not sure what flag testing your emergence means feel free to call or check out some YouTube videos. It’s work but it’s worth it. You’ll be amazed how much money you are losing from late emerging plants not giving you as big of an ear as day 1 emergers. And like Peter Drucker said, you can’t manage something unless you are able to measure that something. So get some flags and mark your Day 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 emergers and follow them through harvest.

Commandment 6: Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

This applies to a lot of things in life but especially corn planting. You can hook a JD 9630 to a 36-row corn planter but should you? You can put a box of seed in each side of your CCS tanks but should you? You can go plant but you’ll fill your gauge wheels full of mud so should you really be out there?

Just like Casey Kasem kept you waiting through the commercial break for the rest of his story you’ll have to wait for the final five commandments. Check out my YouTube channel EdKasper35 for more on the 10 commandments.