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Historical Planting Progress – How much can we plant in a week?

This Iowa spring weather has been less than ideal for fieldwork, and many farmers are getting nervous about the lack of planting progress. However, it is important to note that once the weather is more conducive to planting, Iowa farmers are able to make significant progress in a short amount of time. For example in 1992, 64% of the Iowa corn crop was planted in one week. Again in 2011, corn planting progress completed during one week exceeded 60%.

As shown in the chart below, it is fairly common for more than 40% of corn acres to be planted within a week - during 15 out of the last 28 years, 40% or more of the Iowa corn crop has been planted in one week’s time. Note, that nearly all of the largest weeks for planting progress over time have occurred at the very end of April or in May.

On a national level, the two highest years for corn planting progress completed in one week were in 1992 and 2013 at 43%.

When looking at historical soybean planting progress, Iowa planted 48% of their soybean acres within a week in 1998. Seven out of the last 28 years all had more than 40% of soybean acres planted within a week timeframe.

Overall, soybean planting progress tends to be smoother from week to week compared to the larger spikes in corn planting progress. It is more common to see several weeks in a row with 15-30% of soybean planting progress occurring.

Michelle Mensing is a Research Analyst with Decision Innovation Solutions (DIS). DIS is an Iowa-Based economic research firm which provides regular farm economics research and analysis to the Iowa Farm Bureau staff and members.



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