An agriculture professor from the University of Illinois says very early planting is not worth the risks involved. Emerson Nafziger says planting well ahead of normal is unlikely to result in higher yields. In Illinois, he says some corn and soybeans were planted as early as February this year, with unseasonably warm and dry weather. However, he says “the earlier the better” typically doesn’t work well. Yields are usually no higher for crops planted in March or early April compared to those planted in late April or early May, so there’s little reward for taking the risk of very early planting. He says the primary cause of stand loss in both crops is heavy rainfall soon after planting, something early planted crops are more prone to. He says the potential for frost damage and standability issues due to wet April and May soils are also common in early planted crops. Planting very early also affects insurability, and if the crop needs to be replanted, can increase production costs.
From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting news service.