June-planted corn did better than earlier planted corn a year ago in the heat-stressed, drought-stressed season of 2012. Based on some reports, June-planted corn in areas where it was very wet last spring made a good showing again this year.
Betsy Bower of Ceres Solutions in west-central Indiana says that some corn customers planted well into June still made over 200 bushels per acre. And that's after some of it absorbed 10 inches of rain in 11 days. The rain set it back, but Bower says the fact that farmers paid attention to nutrient needs and continued to apply what the crop needed, whether with over-the-top broadcast applications, or as foliar applications through irrigation water later, obviously helped the crop.
Dave Nanda, director of genetics and technology for Seed Consultants, Inc., is a believer in early planting. He notes that mid-May plantings have done well the past two years. He acknowledges that some corn in June has done well, although he believes planting in June is pushing it in most areas.
Earlier planted corn hasn't excelled in terms of yield over the past two seasons. That hasn't changed Nanda's opinion on what the practice means for the future. "I still believe that over time, early planting pays off in better yields," Nanda says.
He points to an Iowa producer in northwest Iowa who plants early. He began planting April 27 this year, which is behind his normal starting date for planting corn. And while he finished in mid-May, his yields were outstanding, Nanda notes. Weather cooperated during the rest of the season. This farmer uses top management practices, which pay off whenever you plant, he adds.
"I would still rather err on the side of planting early rather than planting later if given a choice," Nanda concludes. "I'll take my chances on early planting given the chance."