Recent rains have slowed corn planting progress across the state.

However, it’s important for producers to wait for optimal planting conditions to ensure they get good yields at harvest time, said Edwin Ritchey and Lloyd Murdock, Extension soils specialists with the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture.

According to the Kentucky Weekly Crop and Weather Report, only 13 percent of the state’s corn was in the ground as of April 17. That is well below the 31 percent that was planted by this time in 2010 and lower than the five-year average of 22 percent.

Planting, tilling or trafficking in fields during wet conditions could cause compaction. In most soils, the greatest amount of compaction occurs when a field is at a moisture level that can be tilled, but is a little too wet for tillage.

“If the soil stays moist during germination then the roots can penetrate the compacted soil and establish a root system,” Ritchey said. “However, if the soil dries and hardens after planting, the roots will not be able to penetrate it.”