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Planting Date Impact on Yield

Is the calendar going to begin robbing yield from our crop and money out of your pocket? Historical data suggests that good yields can still be produced when corn is planted in the month of May. Spring 2013 was very similar to this spring, as a wet weather pattern persisted during the months of April and May. In April of 2013 we saw almost 6” of rain and almost 10.5” of precipitation in May. The similarity in weather and soil conditions may be representative of what we will see this year. Figure 1 chart represents yield from 2013 based on various planting dates. The trend line suggests decreased yield as the calendar progresses into the month of June. Growing conditions, temperatures, and precipitation will all be factors contributing to the final yield. The opportunity for top yields still exists if we can complete corn planting by the third week of May in good soil conditions.

Figure 1.

As we sit in the first week of May, corn planting has been completed for some and not even started for others. The later it gets, the more we begin to think about altering our planting intentions. When should I think about switching from corn to beans? How late can I plant a 112 day hybrid and not sacrifice yield? These are all questions that have been brought up or will be in the coming days and weeks.

The chart in Figure 2 suggests an inverse correlation between planting date and hybrid maturity, in relation to yield, after the second week of May. The earlier season hybrids show more yield potential, under similar weather and soil conditions, after the second week of May. It is too soon to begin thinking about switching out your fuller season hybrids, at the risk of sacrificing yield from top hybrid genetics. If corn planting is not competed by the third week of May, it could be beneficial to trade out that full season hybrid for a shorter season hybrid.

Figure 2.

There is a large quantity of corn to be planted in May, and data suggests good yields can still be achieved. More yield is lost when planting is completed in unsuitable soil conditions rather than waiting for suitable conditions. If you have questions about your operation or are looking for advice, contact your Harvest-Max advisor and we'd be happy to assist you.

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