Yesterday’s crop progress and condition report indicated little to no planting progress for corn or soybean. This is not a bad thing, considering the temperatures the five days. All hope is not lost! Iowa farmers are able to plant an incredible number of acres really fast. Larger planters, faster planter speeds or multiple planters per farm operation have led to this ability. Per suitable day over the last 8 years, the average number corn and soybean acres planted peaks at 1.26 million acres per day during week 19 (second week of May). During 4 of 8 years, the peak was 1.6 million acres per day or more. For reference, the Perspective Plantings report indicated 12.6 million acres of corn and 10.4 million acres of soybean expected to be planted this spring. If all planting occurs at its fastest pace, Iowa corn and soybean acres can be planted in less than 15 days.
Breaking out just the corn planting potential, the average is just less than 1 million acres per day during week 18 with greater than 750,000 acres per day during weeks 17 and 19 (last week of April to second week of May). 2018 was the last year when corn planting had not started by the third week of April. Greater than 95% yield potential can still be achieved when corn plating occurs before mid-May.
For soybean planting potential, the average is between 610,000 and 445,000 acre per day during weeks 19, 20, and 21 (second week to last week of May). Soybean planting has only begun the third week of April in 2 of the last 8 years and only 6 of the last 8 years in the fourth week of April. Soybean yield potential remains above 95% yield potential when planting occurs before May 20.
Figure 1. Acres of corn and soybean planted per suitable day averaged across 2014 through 2021 growing season.
Figure 2. Corn planted acres per suitable day.
Figure 3. Soybean planted acres per suitable day.