Home Indiana Agriculture News Can the U.S. Corn Crop Really be Planted Faster than in Previous...

Can the U.S. Corn Crop Really be Planted Faster than in Previous Decades?

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Farmers facing planting delays might be wondering why the futures market isn’t taking their delays into account by placing more of a premium on corn and soybean prices. Market analysts agree that it is just nowhere near too late to get crops planted and see excellent yields in the fall. Those crops can be planted quickly, and many believe it can happen much faster today than ever before.

While it is true today’s equipment can plant a single acre of corn much faster, it still takes about the same amount of time to plant the whole crop. University of Illinois Agricultural Economist Scott Irwin says it’s an illusion and pretty simple math.

“This is a situation where your eyes can deceive you,” he said. “So, you drive out to the countryside or you have a friend that’s a farmer, and they have a big planter and they can plant their individual farm in these particular cases clearly much faster than they used to. I don’t disagree with that individual anecdotal observation. The problem is, that doesn’t necessarily add up to the whole.”

So, the equipment can get over a single acre way faster, but each piece of equipment is going over many, many more acres than used to be the case. Consequently, Irwin says it takes about the same time to plant the whole U.S. corn crop today as it did forty-years ago.

“It’s a near constant. There’s some variation from year to year, but on average it looks like it takes a minimum of fourteen good field days to get the U.S. corn belt planted basically with everyone able to and willing to run flat out.”

In 1980, for instance, farmers were able to plant about one-million acres per day. Last year, running flat-out that figure was approximately the same.

Source: NAFB News Service