The USDA estimates planting in east-central Missouri to be at 10 percent, compared to 80 percent planted at this time last year. A similar lag in central and northeast Missouri shows farmers planted only 24 and 19 percent, respectively, which is about 50 percent behind last year. As of May 1, corn planting in southern Missouri lags up to 60 percentage points behind.

Lateer planting dates will have an increasing impact on yields. Producers face the dilemma of balancing ideal planting date with field conditions. Planting when soil is too wet might hurt yields, but so will waiting too long.

“If soils are wet they are easily compacted, so when they till or plant, the root systems get damaged,” said Bill Wiebold, a University of Missouri Extension agronomist. “That damaged root system is a problem in the drier and warmer part of the season.”

The delay shaves precious profits from crops. The later that planting occurs, the less corn you can expect at harvest time.

Expected yields drop to 86 percent by May 15 and to 77 percent by May 31, according to data collected over a five-year period at MU’s Bradford Research and Extension Center in Columbia.

Yields take a hit from later planting for a few reasons. Late planting produces smaller plants due to less leaf growth in June, adds more stress during silking in July and limits absorption of sunlight as kernels fill out in August.

 “Instead of tasseling around the Fourth of July, it tassels the third week of July, and that puts the plant into a potentially stressful time,” Wiebold said.

 “The areas that are well-drained will get planted first, but if you take Columbia and into the northeastern part of the state where we have claypan soils, those will be some of the last soils that will dry enough to get planted.”

Source: University of Missouri