Planting progress: Slowly but surely


Tony Nye - OSU Extension



I realize we got some more rain this week (just enough to be aggravating), but we have had a pretty good window of opportunity the past week or so to get several acres planted.

In fact, I would now estimate that we have 80 percent or more of the corn planted in the county and maybe 25 to 35 percent of the soybeans planted. This is monumental planting progress compared to many other counties around Ohio, especially those on the western border and the northwest corner of Ohio.

On our weekly conference call on Tuesday morning, many of those counties reported less than 10 percent of all crops had been planted and would have more delays this week due to excessive wet conditions.

We are also in pretty good shape when compared to other areas of the Midwest.

On Memorial Day weekend, my dad and I took a trip to Springfield, Missouri and recognized along the journey that there where many fields that had not been planted yet. In fact, the number one crop I saw growing was many fields of that yellow flowering weed you have seen this year called Cress Leaf Groundsel. It was everywhere.

There were really only two places along the way we could actually row crops in a number of fields and that was in the Casey, Illinois area and not far from Springfield, Missouri.

According to the May 20th Crop Progress Report by USDA National Ag Statistics Service, Ohio had only 9% corn planted. Surprisingly that was ‘double’ what was planted the week before and well behind the 5-year average of 62% planted.

In 2018, Ohio was 69% planted by this report date.

The wet weather and planting delays throughout much of Ohio and the eastern Cornbelt have many producers thinking about switching corn acres to soybeans or the taking the prevented planting option of their Multiple Peril Crop Insurance policy.

As I noted earlier, Ohio had 9% of intended corn acres planted by May 19 which is far behind the 5 year average of 62%.

Farms with pre-plant nitrogen or herbicides applied for corn production may have no option to switch to soybeans. Seed availability may also limit choice for some.

Other factors, such as strict adherence to a crop rotation or landlord considerations may limit farmer choice when it comes to switching from corn to soybean plantings in a given year.

Farm leases may contain specifications on crop rotations or even what crops may be grown. There may also be unwritten agreements between parties that limit the possibility of growing soybeans in successive years.

Producers that don’t have these limitations may be considering the option of switching acres to soybeans and it will likely come down to expected profit.

Field by field budgeting is recommended and with delayed planting the yield expectations change as we move later into the growing season.

Before switching from corn to soybeans do the math to be sure switching is the correct decision.

Barry Ward, Leader, Production Business Management with Ohio State University Extension provides some real life scenarios to this decision process:

Looking at some simple scenarios may get your budgeting process moving for your own fields. Ward notes these scenarios are based on the 2019 crop enterprise budgets available online at: https://farmoffice.osu.edu/farm-management-tools/farm-budgets

Scenario 1 – Yield prospects remain unchanged, new estimated revenue based on today’s markets:

Corn – 170.2 bu/a & 4.00/bu

Returns Above Variable Costs $293

Soybeans – 51.5 bu/a & 7.90/bu

Returns Above Variable Costs $207

Price changes in the last 3 weeks have been favorable to corn and shows some advantage to corn with these assumptions using OSUE Enterprise Budgets.

Scenario 2 – Corn yield 21% lower (per OSU Agronomy Guide, planting date 5-28 through

6-4), soybean yields remain unchanged, new estimated revenue based on today’s markets:

Corn – 136.5 bu/a & 4.00/bu

Returns Above Variable Costs $181

Soybeans – 51.5 bu/a & 7.90/bu

Returns Above Variable Costs $207

Scenario 3 – Corn yield 21% lower (per OSU Agronomy Guide, planting date 5-28 through 6-4), soybean yields 5% lower, soybean seed costs higher due to higher seeding rate (additional 30,000 seeds per acre planted) for late planted soybeans, new estimated revenue based on today’s markets:

Corn – 136.5 bu/a & 4.00/bu

Returns Above Variable Costs $181

Soybeans – 48.9 bu/a & 7.90/bu

Returns Above Variable Costs $175

This choice slightly favors corn as the lower soybean yield due to late planting and additional seeding costs make the choice of corn somewhat stronger compared to Scenario 2.

Again these are scenarios based on statewide averages. I know we have planted corn into June before and corn yields have been at higher yields than these examples for Clinton County.

One final note from Barry Ward: The recent announcements of another round of Market Facilitation Payments and changes to Prevented Planting Coverage due to the pending Disaster Aid Bill may add further complexity to this choice.

As planting is delayed further into June the potential lower yields of both corn and soybeans due to a later planting window will tend to favor soybeans.

These simplified scenarios are just examples and farmers should budget for the different yield, price and cost combinations based on their own numbers.

Tony Nye is the state coordinator for the Ohio State University Extension Small Farm Program and has been an OSU Extension Educator for agriculture and natural resources for over 30 years, currently serving Clinton County and the Miami Valley EERA.

https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2019/05/web1_Tony-Nye-4.jpg

Tony Nye

OSU Extension