Planting progress remains slow in Michigan. Pioneer Agronomist Christopher Bauer says his area of Southeast Michigan probably only has about 5% of corn and soybeans planted thus far.

For those that did get some corn in the ground already, Bauer says that first drink of water into the seed is the most important. He offers some advice on what to look out for.

“So, that first drink of water that they take, if it’s a cold rain or cold snow water there can be damage that can occur to those seed membranes leading to erratic or failed emergence. So, things to look for is corkscrewing in the mesocotyl or leafing out underground, that can be a symptom of maybe you pushed the envelope a little too much and I had a cold rain or the soil temps are a little too cold.”

Regardless of when you plant your corn, Bauer says damage to either the seed or the mesocotyl can be catastrophic to the survival of that seedling.

“Once you get planted and you’re starting to scout the stuff coming up, maybe there are gaps in the stand. What I always like to look for is that radicle root and see if that root was compromised. Did it get burned off maybe by fertilizer injury or was there an insect that clipped it off? So, the biggest thing if there’s a gap in your stand, I always start digging plants and I always look to see what does that root system look like? Did it get off to the right start? Is it a healthy root system or was there something that may have affected that root system to start out?”

Check out our full interview below where Bauer goes through all of the checkpoints of early corn growth to make sure your plant will start healthy this season. Get in touch with your Pioneer representative at