Taking an environmentally sensitive approach to pest management


Integrated Pest & Crop Management



AUTHOR

Raymond E. Massey
University of Missouri
Agricultural and Applied Economics
(573) 884-7788
masseyr@missouri.edu

Crop Progress Reports

Raymond E. Massey
University of Missouri
(573) 884-7788
masseyr@missouri.edu

Published: May 3, 2011

The April 24, 2011 Crop Progress and Condition Report of the Missouri Agricultural Statistic Service reported that corn planting was 28% complete. This was compared to 65% complete for last year and 41% complete for normal. Normal is officially defined as the average of the last five years. But what is really normal for corn planting in Missouri?

Missouri corn planting progress chart

Using data from the last 30 years, we analyzed the corn planting progress over time. Figure 1 indicates that corn planting during the last decade has been progressing earlier than the previous two decades. The 50% mark was reached around April 14 during the years 2001-2010; April 21 during 1981-1990; April 25 during 1991-2000.

There are probably multiple reasons for earlier planting. Technology is one factor. Less spring tillage allows for earlier planting. Seeds that better resist cold temperatures permit earlier planting with less risk. Perhaps as farms become larger, farmers are entering the fields earlier to complete all of their necessary field work on time. However, as this year is demonstrating, weather is a critical factor. Planting doesn't occur when the fields are too wet to enter.

Several effects of earlier planting exist. It increases the risk of cold soils and frost on young plants causing poor stands that may need to be replanted. Poor stands may not be covered by crop insurance if the planting occurs before the initial planting dates. Initial plantings dates for corn in Missouri are April 5 for the northern 3 tiers of counties, March 20 for SE and SW Missouri, and April 1 for the rest of the state. Countering the risk of not having crop insurance coverage for planting occurring before the initial planting date is that several seed companies offer discounts for seed to replant fields with poor stands.

A positive effect of earlier planting is that silking occurs earlier in the summer, reducing the risk of extreme heat negatively affecting pollination.

Of course Missouri is a large state and corn planting is not the only field work of importance. Graphs for USDA crop progress in Missouri for corn, soybeans and wheat have been created and are available on the web at http://agebb.missouri.edu/commag/crops/. Graphs for each crop reporting district have also been made so that farmers in different parts of the state can see what is "normal" for their region.

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REVISED: October 2, 2015