How warm are your soils? Things to consider prior to planting

Joshua Putman, Field Crops and Forage Specialist
Southwest New York Dairy, Livestock and Field Crops Program

April 15, 2020
How warm are your soils? Things to consider prior to planting

The sun is shining, grassing is greening up, and some recent warm temperatures have everyone excited about planting. However, there are other things to consider as we move further into the spring. Imbibition is the process by which seeds absorb water for the initiation of germination. A chilling effect occurs when water colder than 50 degrees F is imbibed. The imbibition of cold water disrupts the reorganization of cells during rehydration and can result in the loss of seed vigor or seed death. The most critical time for imbibition is within 24 hours of planting. Therefore, imbibitional chilling effects are more severe when seeds are planted into soils 50 degrees F or colder compared to planting into warmer soils followed by a drop in temperature. Recent soil temperatures taken by Field Crops Specialist, Josh Putman, indicate soil temperatures in Southwest New York are around 40-50 degrees F depending on the soil type. In SWNY, we recently had snow as well as a hard frost which can be damaging or lethal to a corn or soybean crop. It is important to monitor soil conditions before planting to avoid loss of stand or the potential to significantly reduce your crop yields. Additional information about seed imbibition can be found through the following link.




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