Friday, May 5, 2017

How Quickly Can Farmers Plant Corn in Wisconsin?

Today, corn planters will begin to roll again in many areas of Wisconsin. We have some good weather coming up and quite a few acres will be planted. I was curious about how quickly can Wisconsin farmers plant corn?

We are just finishing Week #17 in the USDA-NASS reporting system. I pulled 31 years of data to analyze and use to answer the question. We typically have about 50% of our corn acres planted by May 15 (see Figure 1). One of the earliest planting seasons was 2010. In the last 30 years 2016, 2010, 2006, 2005, 2000, and 1999 were earlier than normal planting seasons, while 2014, 2013, and 1996 were later than normal planting seasons.

Figure 1. Wisconsin corn planting progress from 1987 to 2017. The bold blue line is the 30-year normal. Other lines are years that were earlier- or later-than normal using + one standard deviation. Click figure to enlarge.

There have been four times when over 1.5 million acres of corn were planted in a week in Wisconsin. The record week jump in planting progress occurred  during Week #18 of 2000 when 1.54 million acres (44% of 3.50 million acres) were planted. During 2015, 1.52 million acres (37% of 4.10 million acres) were planted during Week #18. During 2007, 1.54 million acres (38% of 4.05 million acres) were planted during Week #19. During 1999, 1.51 million acres (42% of 3.60 million acres) were planted during Week #18.

In the U.S., Iowa planted the most acres in a week during 2011 when 8.60 million acres (61% of 14.10 million acres) were planted during Week #18. Minnesota during Week #17 of 2000 and Ohio during Week #18 of 2003 planted the greatest proportion of acres at 65% (MN= 4.68 of 7.20 million acres and OH= 2.14 of 3.30 million acres).

Safety First and Pay Attention to Detail

Please remember SAFETY FIRST! during the planting season. Patience is key. Make sure fields are fit, equipment is maintained and that you are well rested. Remember to pay attention to detail. The planting process sets up your whole season. The "sins of the past WILL come back to haunt you" if you are sloppy or careless during this important time.

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