Week of April 24, 2023

The one-stop-shop for everything you need to know about what’s happening this week in your fields.

This week’s featured agronomists are:

Austin Schultz – Le Center
Chad Wiersma – Morristown
Chris Soltau – Goodhue
Brett Decker – Lewiston
Brady Kinneman – Ellsworth


Scroll down to hear from your local agronomist.

Belle Plaine – Le Center – Le Sueur

Austin Schultz





We still remain somewhat cool and wet here in Le Center, hopefully with a warming trend in our near future. There has not been much activity around the Le Center area, with our growers holding off for ideal soil conditions and warmer temps. Ideally we would like to see soil temperatures around 50 degrees or above, so with our current weather pattern we may start to see that happening next week. We will need to keep a close eye on some of the corn that is in the ground already to ensure that emergence isn’t an issue. Our current soil temperature this morning was approximately 32 degrees Fahrenheit, which is a far cry from 50 degrees. If you have your soybeans treated I would consider putting them in the ground before corn, as they can handle the cooler temperatures without as much of a detrimental effect.


Pine Island – Cannon Falls – Goodhue – Lake City


Chris Soltau

May is next week and there is a bunch of field work to do. All of you in AYS see the planting date response to your corn and beans. Remember, it is not date alone. Field conditions have to be correct. The first parameter to planting is the field needs to be fit. This is the only chance for maximum root growth, assuming your planting depth is 1.5-2.25” deep. If the soils are cold, make sure there is a warming trend for the near future. This allows seed to imbibe (absorb water) and the mesocotyl to go towards the soil surface instead of horizontal or downward, since it is going to the warmest area in the soil.

Soil temperatures of 50 F or more for corn is what we all would like to see, but if it is cooler than that refer to the comments above. If a person has that field that just isn’t drying out, patiently wait. When your patience is gone, it will be warmer for that seed to have more energy to emerge. Once out of the ground, the real struggle will happen with root expansion to grow adequate enough to support the high yield you expect.

As we learned from other late challenging years, plant your corn when it is fit. AYS has documented 82 different combinations to apply nitrogen. Don’t let waiting for fertilizer be an excuse if it unfortunately gets condensed into a short window. In 2013 and 2014, those who planted their crop and fertilized over the top after planting, had better yields than those who chose to spread their fertilizer, work, then plant. They lost valuable time spreading fertilizer instead of driving the corn planter. In Indiana and Ohio, it is common practice to spread soybean fertilizer after the beans are planted. For those who put their fertilizer on in the fall, they have no worries since their nitrogen, sulfur, and maybe some potash are more mobile in the soil than other nutrients.

Trust your instincts with data and experience from others. Remember it is enjoyable to watch a good crop grow and these are the first steps to achieve it. Have a safe and fun 2023.

Morristown – Wanamingo – Kenyon

Chad Wiersma

Two weeks ago, the high temperature was 87 degrees. Today we are forecasted to get to 58. I don’t have to tell you what happened between two weeks ago and today. We have again this year been on the Minnesota weather rollercoaster. However, just like we do every year, we wait to plant until our soil conditions are favorable. Ideally, we like to see soil temps consistently above 50 degrees and soil moisture at or below 35% saturation.


In our area we did have some corn go in the ground two weeks ago. I have received many calls about the fate of that seed. The short answer of course is that only time will tell. I have been out digging some of that seed. The fields planted Wednesday or Thursday have small sprouts and the seed is still firm. I think that corn has a good chance of producing an acceptable stand, most likely very reduced, but for the planting date probably acceptable. As for the corn planted on Friday, especially later Friday, what I have seen is seed with no sprout, yet firm seed. At this point, I’m uncertain of the fate of that seed, 2-3 weeks is a long time for that to lay in the ground.

With a forecast of favorable conditions coming next week, I’m sure things will really begin to pick up. We are starting to apply fertilizer and chemicals, and each day will get more and more busy. I hope you all have a safe and successful planting season!

Corn planted April 13th

Elgin – Lewiston – Stewartville

Brett Decker

What looked to be an early spring a couple weeks ago with record highs, has now turned into a cold and wet last half of April. With the record warmth earlier in the month we were able to get some fertilizer spread and even some corn planted. The conditions for planting were very good with dry and warm soil, with some soil temperatures two weeks ago being 55-65 degrees. Then a snowstorm and wet, cold conditions happened. Since then, the soil temperatures have rebounded nicely to around 50 degrees locally. With a couple of sunny, warmer days recently the weather outlook for the next week looks favorable to start up the planters again. Upon looking at some corn that was planted two weeks ago it has germinated very nicely and consistently. I have been out digging up seeds and I have not found any that have shown signs of rot or softening. As the soil temperatures increase, we will continue to monitor emergence.

Corn planted on April 12th

We have been out scouting many alfalfa fields and we have been hit extremely hard by winter kill. It has been very hard for growers to decide what fields to keep and which ones to eliminate. Every field expressed the winter kill differently. What may look good in one spot of the field there are other larger spots where the alfalfa has been completely eliminated. One conclusion I can make is where the snowpack was greater this winter the alfalfa survived better and where the snow had blown off and was exposed to the rain and ice, has greater winter kill. Some of the plants that are not robust have some damaged crowns but are still trying to grow. These plants will produce lower quality and quantity this year.

Alfalfa field loss to winter kill.

Alfalfa root completely decaying from winter kill.

Alfalfa root with little damage but slow growth.


Brady Kinneman

This spring has felt like a roller coaster ride! Early April we thought we would never shed the snow and the cold. Mid April we go from 36 to 90 degrees and the paint started coming out of the sheds with promises to soon be back in the fields. Mother Nature had different plans. Here we sit in late April and today I saw the first grain drill out seeding alfalfa. The extended forecast looks grim with cooler temps and rain through May 2nd. It may seem late, but the average planting date here in Western Wisconsin over the last three seasons is May 12th, with some of the earliest corn being planted May 3rd. The day will soon come where planters will push through our rolling fields. As we wait, it’s good to have a plan and execute the plan when the time allows. Don’t deviate from your plan because of the calendar date. Yes, changes may have to be made along the way but that’s every year. Take time to get out to check depth, spacing, and row shutoff timing. Carry a notebook in the tractor. I’ve found if you write notes down as you plant you can go back and check areas that maybe weren’t planted in the “best conditions” or forgot to turn the starter on X rows on Y farm. Write down any mistakes or improvements that could be made in the future. Currently, we at the coop are actively spreading fertilizer and finishing up loading monitor setups and prescriptions into planters. I am looking forward to seeing plant 2023 take flight. Hope everyone has a safe planting season.