Always plant corn and soybeans based on soil and environmental conditions, not emotions. Too many farmers time their decisions around arbitrary dates, and that can be an expensive mistake, says Chris Barron, an Iowa producer with Ag View Solutions.

“We don’t want the calendar to dictate a lot of the things we’re thinking through,” Barron explains. “Don’t let that cause us to go out and do some things in terms of conditions that might be costly.”

For example, suppose a farm makes five mistakes:

  1. It plants crops when soil conditions are too cold.
  2. It plants crops when soils are too moist.
  3. It leaves tracks in moist fields, resulting in NH3 loss.
  4. It creates compaction during tillage.
  5. It creates compaction during planting.

Now imagine the farm averages 200 bu. per acre and earns $4 an bushel. If each of those five poor decisions creates 1% in yield loss, for a total of 5% overall loss, the farm would lose 10 bu. per acre. The resulting financial penalty would be $40 per acre, Barron points out.

That means while it’s important to know when planting season can begin and end in terms of crop insurance and prevent planting, respectively, it’s more important to understand whether conditions are conducive to planting.  “We’re talking real money,” Barron says.

Rest assured most farmers will get between 30 and 40 days of optimal planting time to achieve all yield potential, Barron says, and up to 10 additional days on either side of that window to achieve close to 99% yield potential.