If, and it’s a big if, weather cooperates farmers can plant corn and soybeans at breakneck speeds, according to a recent Farm Journal Pulse poll. We asked farmers how long it takes to plant their crops in perfect conditions and 42% said they could do it in under 10 days.
Here’s the breakdown of answers:
One to four days: 8%
Five to nine days: 34%
10 or more days: 58%
These results come in contrast to recent reports that suggest it would take two weeks to plant all of the corn and two weeks to plant all of the soybean acres in the U.S. That report takes into account growers of all sizes includes those with a large number of acres, growers with smaller, slower equipment and your ‘average’ farmer.
“I’ve been tracking corn planting progress for the past five years,” says Mark Licht, Iowa State University Extension agronomist. “I use prospective plating to get acres and suitable days and calculate how many acres can be planted per day. For corn, it peaks between 1 and 1.25 million acres per day—that means just over 13 days to get planted.”
It’s the same for soybeans—about 14 days to fully planted. Interestingly enough, this number hasn’t changed in more than 30 years.
Before rushing into fields, keep agronomics in mind and be willing to be patient for optimal planting conditions.
“If you have to wait a day to half a day longer to get in the field versus going in earlier and causing compaction you’re better off,” Licht says. “Planting early could cause more harm than good if you don’t get good root growth, tomahawk roots can decrease yields and can them diminish even more if you get lodging.”