Pioneer Agronomist On The Importance Of Early Season Corn And Soybean Scouting


When planting ends, scouting begins. Low temperatures and rain events that plague growers during planting can also impact crop emergence. Early scouting helps determine plant populations, germination and stand uniformity, as well as aids in any replant decisions.

“Corn that imbibes water during cold weather is more susceptible to uneven emergence and reduced stands,” said Pat Reeg, Pioneer Field Agronomist. “If we lose corn stand or if the emergence is uneven, yields will likely be reduced. However, soybeans are much more forgiving.”

Soybeans imbibe water more quickly than corn, which makes them more resilient to the cold and usually able to overcome emergence issues.

Corn plants can emerge within five days in ideal heat and moisture conditions. But in practice, due to early planting under seasonably cool conditions, at least two weeks are normally required from planting to emergence. With below average spring temperatures, corn seeds may be in the ground for three weeks or more before seedlings emerge.

“Once crops emerge, I use two methods to evaluate stands,” Reeg said. “The first method, low resolution stand counts, is done by measuring and counting the rows. High resolution stand counts utilize a drone and field mapping software.”

Whether scouting stands with a tape measure and spade, or utilizing a drone, working with a Pioneer Representative can help set a field up for success. The 2023 Pioneer Corn and Soybean Scouting Calendar is another agronomic resource available to growers on The guide identifies which threats to look for during each growth stage to manage disease and pest pressure efficiently.