Risk of Freeze Damage in Early-Planted, Emerged Corn

Warmer than normal mid-April temperatures have allowed corn planting to jump ahead of the five-year average (11%) with 17% of acres planted and 1% emerged as of April 23.  Since then farmers in some areas have completed or nearly completed planting. Early-planted corn has emerged in some parts of the state.

Warm mid-April temperatures were followed by freezing temperatures over large parts of the state on Wednesday, April 26 and Thursday, April 27. For details on low temperatures by location see Assessing Freeze Injury to Wheat in this week's CropWatch. Freezing temperatures are being followed by cool wet conditions that are expected to continue throughout the weekend. Such conditions can be favorable for plant pathogens that can reduce corn survival.

Al Dutcher, Nebraska Extension agricultural climatologist, indicates that average last freeze date over the last seven years ranges from April 28 in the eastern half of Nebraska to May 17 in the western Panhandle. (See Dutcher’s article in CropWatch.) With a recent frost and freeze advisory and cool temperatures in the forecast, it’s important to take note of the impacts these conditions might have on a germinating and emerging corn crop.

Impact of Freeze on Corn Seeds and Seedlings