I haven't seen much corn planted yet here in Wayne County at the end of April, but that will change soon. Growers should make sure planters are adjusted to put corn in at a proper depth. Corn is a large seed with a lot of vigor and capable of germinating and emerging from several inches deep without too many problems. Personally, I have seen corn emerge from a 6-plus inch planting depth (planter adjustment error). While that is obviously an extreme and not recommended condition, generally it may be better to err on the side of deeper planting rather than too shallow.
Recently OSU Extension corn specialist Peter Thomison wrote about corn planting depth in the OSU Extension CORN newsletter. Here is an excerpt from that article. The entire article is available online at: https://agcrops.osu.edu/.
Planting depth recommendations for Ohio are 1 1/2-2 inches deep to ensure adequate moisture uptake and seed-soil contact. Deeper planting may be recommended as the season progresses and soils become warmer and drier; however planting shallower than 1.5 inches is generally not recommended at any planting date or in any soil type.
When corn is planted 1.5-2 inches deep, the nodal roots will develop about 0.75 inch below the soil surface. However, at planting depths less than 1 inch, the nodal roots develop at or just below the soil surface. Excessively shallow planting can cause slow, uneven emergence due to soil moisture variation and rootless corn ("floppy corn syndrome") later in the season when hot, dry weather inhibits nodal root development (Nielsen, 2010).
In a recent OSU evaluation of planting depths, grain yields were about 14 percent greater for the 1.5-inch and 3-inch planting depths than the 0.5-inch planting depth in 2011, and 40 percent greater in 2012. The lower yields of the shallow planting were associated with reduced final stands and six to seven times as many "runt" plants as the other two planting depths.
This is the time of year when a lot of manure gets hauled and applied on crop fields. Be aware of the potential for the release of harmful gases and take precautions anytime manure is agitated, as in the case of liquid manure storage, or stirred up, in the case of bedded pack manure clean-out. The gas of most concern is hydrogen sulfide, a very toxic gas responsible for most manure-related deaths. One factor that can increase the amount of hydrogen sulfide is feeding distillers grains. This feedstuff tends to have a higher sulfur content than other feedstuffs and results in greater sulfur content in the livestock manure.
Some safety precautions that can be taken during manure pit agitation or removal of bedded pack manure include:
-- Agitate and pump manure on a day with some wind to help dilute the hydrogen sulfide and/or move it away from the handler.
-- Use fans/blowers and open all available doors, windows and/or sidewall curtains when removing bedded pack manure.
-- Never stick your head inside a manure tanker or enter a confined manure storage structure space.
-- Consider the use of a hand-held or wearable hydrogen sulfide monitor.
Contact the Wayne County Extension office at 330-264-8722 for more information about manure handling safety.