Ohio corn and soybeans “Battle for the Belt”

By Osler OrtezLaura Lindsey, Ohio State University Extension

Is it better the plant corn or soybeans first?

Which crop has the smallest yield penalty for delayed planting? 

Can you adjust your management practices to mitigate losses due to late planting? 

How are insects, diseases, weeds, and other factors affected by planting date?

Finding the answers to these, and other, questions is part of the Battle for the Belt research effort by Ohio State University Extension.

For both soybean and corn, earlier planting is promoted to maximize yield. However, due to bad weather, the planting date window is often short and disconnected (e.g., good weather in April, bad weather in May, then good weather again in June). Farmers often debate which crop should be planted first.


The plan is to conduct field experiments at three locations in 2023: Western, Northwest, and Wooster. Five planting date windows: 1) ultra-early (first two weeks of April), 2) early (second two weeks of April), 3) normal (first two weeks of May), late (last two weeks of May), and very late (first two weeks of June). Corn and soybean will be planted side by side on each planting date. The plan is to repeat the study in 2024.


On the extension side, we plan on having short, bi-weekly video updates from the field that will be advertised through the CORN newsletter, YouTube, and Twitter. Video updates will include agronomists (OSU and others), other specialists (e.g., plant pathology, weed science, entomology), and farmers. Each will ‘weigh’ the benefits/drawbacks of planting each crop too early or too late. In addition, the research outcomes will be presented as extension articles and talks at extension programming events and field days across the state. 

To learn more, follow along with Dr. Laura Lindsey and Dr. Osler Ortez as they “Battle for the Belt” next year! Videos and updates will be posted on the CORN newsletter and AgCrops Team YouTube channel starting in March 2023; make sure to subscribe! 

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