By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net
So what is the advantage? According to Steve Prochaska, Ohio State Extension agronomy field Specialist, there isn’t one.
“We have 6 more weeks to plant corn and still be at 100% of yield,” said Prochaska pointing out that yields in 2011 were remarkably high considering a planting date as late as June 1.
Prochaska said sowing corn that early is quite a gamble and there are many factors that farmers will have to look at if they have already shown their hand for this planting season, including their stand by planting date and uneven seedling emergence.
“What we have found through the years is that we really want corn to come up very evenly,” Prochaska said. “If there are gaps where one plant comes up and another one doesn’t sprout until two weeks later, then the first plant becomes a dominate plant and the second plant may not yield nearly as well.”
Prochaska points out that if a farmer scouts a field of planted corn on April 15 and finds that a large number of seeds have rotted, they are still essentially at 100% of yield potential for that field. As you might imagine, there is a significant cost to that and not just in the seed itself but also in availability.
“I was with a seed dealer recently and was told that the company has informed their customers that there would not be any replant corn,” Prochaska said. “If you plant very early and you don’t get a good stand, you may not have any corn to replant with and that may not be a palatable situation.”
If there is some seed corn available, it may not be the first-choice hybrid to put on a particular piece of ground. That means farmers may be stuck with what they have in a less than desirable stand.
“None of us can predict the weather,” Prochaska said. “I wish everybody that has planted early draws an inside straight, hits the jackpot and grows 300-bushel corn.”
Only time will tell if the chance taken by Ohio farmers will trump 2011 or be a bust.