Corn planting in Kansas: Effects of prior weather and projected conditions

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Kansas corn planting progress reached 45% at the state-level during the week May 1-7 (Fig. 1). The eastern half of the state is progressing at a faster pace than the western half, but more rain projected for the coming week will slow down any expected continuous planting progress.

Fig. 1. Corn planting progress, May 7, 2017. Source: USDA/NASS.


Cold and rainy conditions over the last few weeks are presenting challenging soil environments for early corn stand establishment. As a result, corn growth and development progress has been delayed based on the low heat unit accumulation. This has been delaying emergence of the recently planted corn and slowing down growth progress on any emerged crop.

As the growing conditions improve, producers should consider checking early stand establishment and plant growth of April-planted corn.

Some corn planted in April might be at about the same stage of growth and development as recently planted corn.

For the next 7-days, May 12-19 (Fig. 2), the outlook for precipitation shows a probability of receiving from 1.15 (eastern section) to less than 1 inch of rain (western part of the state), adding to the precipitation already received this past month (Fig. 3). This will slow down the soil drying process and impede any field work until conditions are more suitable for planting.

The precipitation outlook for the medium-term (6-10 and 8-14 days) is calling for probabilities of above-normal precipitation for the entire state, especially in the eastern part of the state (east central and southeast Kansas) (Fig. 4). A similar pattern is forecast for other areas of the Great Plains and the Corn Belt regions.

Figure 2. 7-Day Outlook Precipitation Probability from April 28 – May 5, NOAA.

Figure 3. Seasonal precipitation summary, April 12 – May 11.



Figure 4. 6-10 (left panel) and 8-14 (right panel) Day Outlook Precipitation Probability from NOAA.


Optimal soil conditions have a large impact on corn uniformity and early-growth. Lack of uniformity in emergence can greatly impact corn potential yields.

Producers should go back and check corn planted in early-to-mid April to check stand establishment, number of plants emerged as compared to target seeding rate, and early-growth uniformity. If plants did not emerge, dig and check for seed that did not germinate or seedlings that died before emergence.

There is still time to plant corn and get good yield potential. If possible, wait and plant under uniform soil temperature and moisture conditions to guarantee a more uniform early-season stand of plants.

More information about corn planting progress and delayed planted corn will be discussed in upcoming issues of the Agronomy eUpdate. Stay tuned!


Ignacio Ciampitti, Crop Production and Cropping Systems Specialist

Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library