Beck's Blog

From Our Family Farm to Yours

Agronomy Update

NE Illinois and NW Indiana: Predicting Corn Emergence and Soybean Inoculants

Published on Thursday, May 01, 2014

CORN PLANTING PROGRESS – Predicting Emergence
During April 10-12 corn planting was slow in isolated areas primarily near Springfield, IL followed by a cool, wet period. Planting resumed again April 17 in a general triangle that was formed by areas around Springfield, Bloomington and Champaign. This planting window continued until April 27 when strong storms brought another period of cool, wet conditions to the area.

While most farmers in the geography I cover got a start on corn planting, progress has been slowed in northern areas by cool soils. If you have not yet planted, you can follow 4” bare soil temperatures measured at 10 a.m. by going to, then clicking on “Hourly”. I suspect, however, as we turn the calendar to May, corn planting will resume as soon as the soil is dry enough to plant, no matter what the soil temperatures are.

As of April 30, it is estimated that 10%, 50%, and 80% of corn is planted in northern, central and southern areas, respectively, in my geography.

How long will it take for corn that has been planted to emerge? Generally, it takes about 120 Growing Degree Days (GDDs), but can depend on soil moisture, soil temperature, planting depth, hybrid, and seed treatments. The table below indicates predicted emergence dates for corn planted on different dates in varying geographies. If your location is not listed, just use the town that most closely represents the latitude where you farm. You can also see the days to emergence in parentheses.

The longer seed is exposed to cool, wet soil conditions prior to emergence, the greater potential for occurrences of seed rot and seedling blights such as Pythium and Fusarium. Thankfully, all Beck’s corn is coated with premium seed treatment products using the Escalate™ yield enhancement system; however, NO seed treatment is bulletproof!

Depending on where you are and when you planted, April planted corn will take 10 to 21 days to emerge. If your corn has not emerged according to the dates in the table below, you may need to check coleoptile development and health.



*Location, planting date, and forecast through 5/8 indicated less than 120 GDDs will be accumulated by 5/8. Weather data according to Iteris, Inc. Forecast through 5/8 provided by



Corn planted April 10, 2014 at Beck's Central Illinois Practical Farm Research loction near Downs, IL. Corn is 1.5" tall. Photo taken April 29,2014

Part of the soybean high-yield equation includes the use of premium seed treatments. While Beck’s Escalate yield enhancement system is an industry-leading seed treatment combination of fungicides, insecticides, and growth promoter, Optimize® liquid inoculant was also offered on many varieties this year with the nematode control products VOTiVO® or Clariva™.

The concept of using an inoculant is not new to most farmers. Prior to the introduction of Optimize over a decade ago, many remember mixing dry peat-based inoculants into the seed box. If you did not get your soybean seed professionally-treated with Optimize this year, consider using one of the dry soybean inoculants on the market today, like Graph-EX SA™ or Graph-EX ®.

Data from the past decade in the Central Corn Belt from EMD Biosciences/Novozymes, in addition to Beck’s CILPFR, indicate a 1.3-1.5 bushel per acre advantage from using Optimize liquid inoculant. Refer to page 206 of the 2013 PFR book for details (click here for PFR book). I recommend the use of a soybean inoculant if any of the following conditions are met:
1. Seeking high soybean yields
2. Low O.M. (<2.5%) and/or sandy soils
3. pH<5.6 or pH>8.0
4. Poorly-drained or soils prone to flooding or standing water
5. Fields where soybeans have not been planted for 3 years



A well-nodulated soybean root showing a healthy, active nodule. The use of premium soybean inoculant is encouraged. 

The proper soybean seeding rate has been a topic of discussion with growers, agronomists and university personnel for decades. Although final, consistent and uniform stands of 100,000-125,000 soybean plants/acre has generally been accepted to maximize economic return, many factors can influence the optimum seeding rate.

Premium soybean seed treatments, such as the Escalate yield enhancement system, has allowed for 5% to 10% lower seeding rates compared to 20 years ago when the majority of beans were untreated. Row spacings greater than 15”-20” require 15% to 25% higher seeding rate. For example, if planting mid-May in 15” rows at 150,000, then 30” rows should be planted around 180,000. Due to inconsistencies in seed metering, planting depth, and seed-to-soil contact, drills and air seeders also require a higher population than 15” to 20” rows, similar to 30” rows.

Delays in planting past June 1st generally require higher populations to achieve quicker canopy closure and good yields. For every week delayed past June 1st, I usually recommend a 10% increase in seeding rate. In addition, germination percentage can have an impact on the required seeding rate. If germination is below 90%, increase the population to make up the difference. Also, soil type and tillage systems can influence your seeding rate. Low productivity soils, tilled soils with a tendency to crust, and also no-till systems require a 10% higher seeding rate.

As always, weather dictates what population is best each year. Your best bet is to use long-term data to guide your decisions. Seven year consecutive data from Central IL PFR suggests that highest yields are obtained when soybeans are planted at 150,000 and 175,000 in 15” and 30” rows, respectively.



Escalate™ is a trademark of Beck's Superior Hybrids, Inc. Optimize® is a registered trademark of Novozymes A/S. VOTiVO® is a registered trademark of Bayer. Clariva™ is a trademark of a Syngenta Group Company. Graph-EX® and Graph-EX SA™ are trademarks of Advanced Biological Marketing.

Comments (0)Number of views (24893)
Chad Kalaher
Chad Kalaher>

Chad Kalaher

Beck’s Hybrids team sales agronomist for 22 counties in NE ¼ of IL and 7 counties in NW IN. Raised on grain and livestock farm in southern IL. B.S. Agronomy 1995 – University of Illinois, M.S. Weed Science 1997 – North Carolina State University. Previous positions in seed industry as researc

Other posts by Chad Kalaher
Contact author Full biography

Full biography

Beck’s Hybrids team sales agronomist for 22 counties in NE ¼ of IL and 7 counties in NW IN. Raised on grain and livestock farm in southern IL. B.S. Agronomy 1995 – University of Illinois, M.S. Weed Science 1997 – North Carolina State University. Previous positions in seed industry as research agronomist, district, and regional sales manager.


Leave a comment

Add comment