Pioneer Agronomist: ‘Not That Important’ to Have Corn Planted First Week of May


The Indy 500 is coming up later this month, but for farmers, the race to try and squeeze in a little bit of planting in between rains has already begun. Unfortunately, planters don’t move quite that fast.

North Central Indiana Pioneer agronomist Brian Early says farmers are already worried about potential corn yield loss, but their data and Purdue’s shows there’s no reason to worry.

“It really isn’t that important to have your corn planted the first week of May. It’s a very poor correlation. Really, conditions need to be fit. So, with corn, you really need to be patient. Now beans on the other hand, they’re pretty responsive to sunlight. I get more worked up when we don’t have a decent slug of beans planted more so than corn.”

Early adds that conditions that promote uniform emergence are more important than the calendar date.

“The corn, I really would like it perfect if at all possible. So, if that means that perfect week is the last week of May, I’d rather have that than have corn planted right now.”

For those concerned about soybean yield loss, Early says the deeper we get into May you should consider planting a little thicker to make up for the timing delay.

“My rule of thumb is to add 10,000 plants a week. So, this first week of May you’ve got your standard plan that you’re going to do. Every week, just start adding 10,000 to get some more plants out there to harvest some light. So, there is something you can do yourself with beans to make up for the delayed planting. There’s nothing great about the situation, but patience on corn, not planting in bad conditions, and then adding more plants with beans can help you get to that end point where the loss probably isn’t near what you’re making it out to be in your mind as you sit around.”

Early encourages you to reach out to your agronomist if this planting delay has you frustrated and considering something off the wall. They can help you walk through a plan. You can reach your local Pioneer agronomist at

Hear the full HAT interview with Early below.