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© 1981, The Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska on behalf of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension. All rights reserved.


Corn planting usually begins when the average daily temperature first rises 55°F and the soil becomes sufficiently warm enough to initiate germination and sustain seedling growth. This may be as early as the middle of March in central Texas 700 miles south of Nebraska or as late as the middle of May in central South Dakota. Corn may be planted as early as the first week of April in southeast Nebraska and continue into the first week of June. Most of the corn, however, is planted between May 4 and May 21.

Corn planted early when the temperature is cool takes longer to germinate and become established than at later planting dates. Reserves in the seed surrounding the germinating embryo provide food to nourish the young seedling for about 21 days. After this, the roots must be sufficiently well established to extract nutrients from the soil and two leaves must be developed to begin the important function of photosynthesis. The young plant is not well established until this occurs.