Hello from District 2!  As I write this, the ground is wet and we expect planting delays.  Most of our area received at least a couple tenths of rain. The rest of the week looks to deliver even more rain. A lot of growers have seen the light at the end of the tunnel and are finishing up corn. My best guess on corn planting completion is 60 percent for this district.

However, soybeans are another story. A very low percentage of soybeans have been planted. I would encourage everyone to try some earlier planted soybeans and get them planted as soon as the soil is fit. The plots that I have been involved in have shown that the highest yielding soybeans occur when planted in the first week of May. The chart below is averaged data from 8 plots over 6 years. You can see the trend; yield declines the later soybeans are planted.


It’s hard to imagine parking the corn planter and putting in soybeans, but imagine what ten more bushels of soybeans would do for you if you planted soybeans earlier. I know what you’re thinking: “Sure I pick up ten bushel of soybeans, but what am I losing in corn yield by planting later?”   That is a risk, but it can be offset with a creative solutions.

Well, I have a solution for you. More and more of the growers that I work with are doing one of two things to ensure early planting of corn AND soybeans. Some are hiring additional labor to run the soybean planter simultaneously while corn planting. The others are just having their soybeans custom planted by another farmer that may be done planting, or looking for additional work. I know this takes a little of the fun out of it, but think about what you could do with an additional $90 or $100 per acre, and less equipment to manage…..

I will hopefully continue to challenge your thinking as we move through the year with soybeans.

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About the Author: Jeff Keifer