2011 Corn Crop Isn't Necessarily Behind

There has been much talk recently about the wet, cold planting conditions throughout the country.  On Saturday, a TV reporter said that only 2% of Iowa’s corn crop was planted as compared to the 16% that had been planted by the same time last year.

The percentage of corn in the ground by April 22 doesn’t mean the 2011 corn crop won’t be another bin-buster.  Keep in mind that last spring’s soil and weather conditions allowed farmers to plant more acres much earlier than the norm.  On average, only about 7% of Iowa’s corn acres has been planted at this time of year.

It’s easy to compare present conditions to just one year ago, so let’s take a minute to reflect on what happened in 2008.  Spring rains in Iowa that year resulted in saturated soils, cool soil temperatures and soil conditions that were less than ideal for planting.  Iowa State University Extension Corn Specialist Roger Elmore said, “Many farmers were guilty of ‘mudding in’ some corn that year.  The penalty: reduced yields.”  Click here to read Iowa State’s Integrated Crop Management NEWS from May 2008.

It’s documented:  Reduced yields result from planting under conditions that are too wet and too cold. Keep this in mind the next time someone says, “It pays to plant early.” And then chides you because your planter isn’t yet rolling.

“Regardless of calendar date, producers should wait for suitable seedbed conditions and the short-term forecast calls for pleasant weather,” advises Elmore.

Remember that although you may not have your corn planted as early as last year, it’s still “early.”  There are literally weeks of optimal planting dates left, and on average, farmers need only one week or less to get all of their corn acres planted.

You can afford to take the extra time to wait for seedbed conditions to improve.  In fact, exercising patience now will mostly likely pay dividends this fall.  When conditions are far less than ideal, it pays more to wait!