How much of an impact did the Easter freeze and other unusual weather patterns have on the Mid-South corn crop? Some growers can access a new tool that will help them determine how soon their crop will be ready for harvest.

The Growing Degree Unit calculator located on the Pioneer GrowingPoint Web site (www.pioneer.com/growingpoint) can help Pioneer customers estimate the harvest window if their planting was delayed or the crop had to be replanted.

“The calculator helps growers plan for harvest and also provides information on the expected timing of growth stages, which is important for managing the crop,” says Steve Butzen, Pioneer agronomy information manager.

The online tool works by entering the ZIP code where the field is located, along with planting dates. GDUs are calculated to help predict when the crop will reach maturity. This information is compiled from a 30-year weather history to help estimate a potential harvest window.

Pioneer customers also can create a database of their entire operations on the GrowingPoint website through “My Farm & Accounts.” By accessing this part of the site growers can combine record-keeping with expected crop progress. This feature allows growers to regularly monitor the predicted growth stage of their crop.

Corn maturity depends in part on accumulated warmth during the growing season, and each hybrid requires a certain amount of heat to mature. GDUs are a way to measure daily heat accumulation. To properly time crop management practices, such as spray applications, growers must know the growth stage of their cornfields.

“Most fungicide and herbicide labels specify the growth stage for proper application,” says Butzen. “For this reason, check the product label carefully as well as the growth stage of the crop.”

Pioneer customers can access the GDU calculator by logging on to the GrowingPoint Web site at www.pioneer.com/growingpoint, choosing “Weather” from the main menu, then clicking the “Weather Tools” link. New users will need to register on the site to obtain a username and password to access the site, or they can call (800) 233-7333 for assistance. Additional corn and hybrid information also is available from local Pioneer sales professionals.