Delayed Corn Planting Considerations: Northern Corn Belt

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Switching to Earlier Maturity Hybrids

  • When rainfall significantly delays field and planting operations, switching to early maturity hybrids may be considered to ensure timely crop maturation.
  • To help guide these decisions, Pioneer researchers conducted planting date studies over 18 years (1987-2004).
  • Northern Corn Belt studies included 17 environments in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
  • Results indicate that growers should plant full-season hybrids until approximately May 27. Switching to an early maturity hybrid prior to this point most likely will not be beneficial and may result in reduced profitability.
  • Growers should consult their local Pioneer representative for recommendations about hybrid switches under delayed planting conditions.

Profitability of Full-Season vs. Early Maturity Hybrids

Profitability of Full-Season vs. Early Maturity Hybrids
  • Full-season hybrids provided the greatest profitability when planted up until May 27.
  • Growers may consider switching to an earlier maturity hybrid after May 27. Earlier maturity hybrids had a significant economic advantage for planting after June 7.
Wet field photo

Profitability of Mid-Maturity vs. Early Maturity Hybrids

Profitability of Mid-Maturity vs. Early Maturity Hybrids
  • Adjusted gross income of mid-maturity hybrids was greater than that of early maturity hybrids throughout the planting date range of the northern Corn Belt studies, indicating no advantage to hybrid switching, even with extremely delayed planting.

Corn Adjusts to Later Planting

  • A three-year study conducted by researchers at Purdue and Ohio State Universities documented that hybrids can adjust their growth and development, requiring fewer growing degree units (GDUs) to reach physiological maturity when planted late.
  • Averaged over all hybrids, locations and years, 244 fewer GDUs were required to reach maturity when planting was delayed from late April or early May to early- or mid-June (approximately 40 days).


-- Adjusted gross income/acre was calculated as gross income at a corn price of $5.00/bu minus drying costs and discounts for low test weights. Higher corn price would move switching date later.
-- Drying costs were calculated based on 4 cents/bu for each point of moisture above 15%. Higher drying costs would move switching date earlier.