When faced with less than ideal planting conditions in spring, growers can be delayed getting their seed in the ground. As planting gets delayed, producers are left with trying to answer a difficult question: do I attempt to plant or not? While it seems like a yes-or-no question, growers do have options available before making a decision. Everyone’s situation is different, be sure to talk with crop advisors, agronomists, and insurance providers for individualized guidance before taking any action. The agronomy experts at E4 Crop Intelligence will touch on a few key considerations and options that growers have to work with.
Effects of Planting Delays
Before making a decision, it’s good to understand how late or delayed planting in the spring affects crop growth and yield potential as the growing season progresses. The climate conditions that affect the growth depend on location. For this article’s purposes, we will look at this topic from the standpoint of E4’s location in Iowa and planting corn.
With standard corn seed choices, the positive yield potential is observed when planting before the beginning of June. Growers planting in June have a higher likelihood of experiencing decreasing corn yields. This is because the crop has fewer accumulated growing degree days (GDD) than corn planted earlier in the spring. Reducing the number of GDDs affects the ability of crops to mature properly. Later crop maturity leads to an increased risk of the plants becoming damaged by fall frost, which can lead to lower yields. So what options are available?
Option 1: Plant A Different Corn Variety
The grower can plant in June if they choose to, but if they use the original seed, they will experience a reduction in yields. There are hybrid corn varieties that have a lower comparative relative maturity (CRM). This means that the corn will reach maturity in a smaller amount of time.
Option 2: Plant Alternative Crop
If planting corn is not viable, a producer can look at planting an alternative crop, such as Soybeans. Be sure to have your field released by the crop insurance provider before moving forward with this option. Different soybean maturity groups should be utilized when planting later.
Option 3: Consider Prevented Planting
When option one and option two are not viable, a grower can consider applying for prevented planting coverage from their crop insurance provider if they have one. This program is only available until a particular cutoff date, which changes depending on the insurer’s provisions. Prevented planting is the failure to plant the insured crop by the final planting date. By choosing not to plant the crop, the grower will receive a certain percentage of the guaranteed coverage. A cover crop can be planted in the field to be grazed or gathered into hay before a specific date to receive a percentage of the indemnity (losses) payment for the crop.
Are you looking for more insight and assistance with crop or farm management? Visit with agronomic experts by going to www.e4cropintelligence.com.