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.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Corn Planting Date Concerns for 2017

The recent cool, wet weather has some farmers concerned about corn planting. We are currently in the optimum range for the corn planting date response. Soon we will be on the downhill side of this response where grain yield decreases AND grain moisture increases. However, there can be quite a bit of variability associated with this response.

Figure 1 shows the corn planting date response at Arlington during the 2010s. During this time, the average planting date that produces maximum corn grain yield is May 4 (the range has been May 1-7). Farmers can still be within 95% of the maximum yield between April 18 and May 20. The narrowest planting date "window" where you could still achieve 95% of the maximum yield was during 2014 between April 25 and May 19 (24 days). The widest window was during 2011 between April 11 and May 21 (40 days).

Figure 1. Grain yield response to planting date for full-season corn hybrids at Arlington from 2010 to 2016.

We planted our first planting date at Arlington on April 17. We planted the hybrid grain and silage trials at Montfort on April 24, Janesville on April 25 and Hancock on April 28. Some university agronomists have written about the potential for imbibitional chilling (see IA and NE) during this growing season. At Janesville and Hancock corn was planted just prior to and during the recent cool, wet weather conditions. We will see how well these trials emerge. They will also be a good test for measuring seed quality differences among hybrids and companies.