What we learned in 2019, planting dates don't matter. That was the title of a story I read on a popular web site for farmers AgWeb.com. When I saw the title I thought maybe the author was joking. It was no joke as the author argued that corn yields were much better than expected this year. Plus the USDA in the monthly Supply Demand Reports estimated that national corn yields were down just a bit from original projections before the growing season began.

The story even quoted a farmer in Illinois and Iowa saying their yields for corn planted in early June were 200 bushel an acre and that was much better than expected. I think the point of the story was corn hybrids we plant today have much better genetics, traits and yield potential than years ago. There is no question that is correct but planting date does not matter?

The story left out a very important point when talking about these farmers still producing 200 bushel an acre this year. How does that compare to your yield last year, and what is your trend adjusted yield you have for crop insurance? I am quite certain their average trend adjusted yield and their yield last year was more like 230 or 240 bushel an acre.

You could make a very good argument that in Illinois and Iowa planting date did matter even though 200 bushel an acre for early June is great. In addition you could check with any farmer in Minnesota, Wisconsin, or North and South Dakota that planted corn in early June. Maybe the yield was better than expected but it was very high in moisture and very light in test weight.

In fact, a lot of that corn especially in North Dakota is still standing in the field buried in snow. I have no way of knowing, but I suspect another motive of the story was that corn yields this year were good and thus bearish for prices?

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