For farmers in the country’s breadbasket, it’s always more important to get the corn crop planted and underway before anything else, and that includes soybeans… Corn has been off to a slow start this year due to the drought conditions, and then the floods that have inundated the Mississippi River and its tributaries this spring. When the ground is too wet, as well as too dry, it makes it very hard to get seeds planted under optimum growing conditions.
Early planting of soybean crops helps improve yield potential and is definitely preferred, but corn loses yield faster than soybean so it’s important to take care of that crop first and get it planted. The period from mid-April to the first week of May provides the best chance for higher yields for both crops. If waiting until the end of May to plant soybeans, there is a loss in potential corresponding to about 15$. However, for corn crops, that loss in potential rises to 25% for planting that late in the season.
In cases of high drought conditions early in the season with adequate rain in July and August, early planting can actually decrease potential yields since extended stress through flowering causes the plant to lose its ability to respond favorably to improved conditions once they appear. On the other hand, an early wet season followed by dry weather actually benefits early planting and the yields expected.
Hopefully this season will be much wetter than the last year or two, and so far it’s definitely an improvement! However, it may take quite some time to overcome the incredibly dry stretch we’ve had to deal with in many states in the U.S. recently. “Normal” conditions may require a new definition and new reality for many North American farmers.