The recent warm weather has almost every producer thinking about planting earlier than ever before. Many producers have their equipment ready to go. Most who are ready to go, also realize that once we start, it's difficult to stop.
As in past years, we can put an amazing amount of seed in the ground in a very short period of time. With the speed in which we can put a crop in the ground, most market analysts are assuming that this will lead to more acres of corn being planted. This is probably true; however, each individual farm should still analyze their plans before and during the course of the planting season.
I'm a huge fan of having written plans, although I recognize that plans can change in the middle of any process. Planting season should be no different. Obviously there are many acres which already have fertilizer and nitrogen applied which will be planted to corn. On the other hand, many producers have acres which are currently planned for corn on corn, which could still be changed to soybeans. Again, few people think this will occur because of the original plans of planting corn on those acres.
We have seen a price ratio improvement between corn and soybeans go from 2.0 to better than 2.3 in many areas. There are numerous producers that can easily justify planting more soybeans with the recent price improvement of soybeans relative to corn. Whether you plant corn or soybeans should clearly be determined on the specific needs of your individual operation. Run your own numbers to measure what makes the most sense for your maximum profitability.
If everyone's planting all corn or an extra field to corn, maybe it's not a bad idea to be on the other side of the fence and plant an extra field of soybeans? Can everyone be right? Will those who plant all or mostly corn make more money than those who plant an additional farm to soybeans? These are all individual questions which need to be answered internally. What the masses do should never influence your individual operational decisions.
In order to help you make the best decisions for your operation I've included a side-by-side comparison tool to help you analyze your plans. Timeliness, seed availability, planting conditions, temperature, forecast, previous crop history, management ability/capacity, production cost, yield, and price opportunities should all be factors that go into your individual decisions of whether to plant corn-OR- soybeans.
(click the table to view a PDF)
If you'd like a copy of this tool in order to evaluate your specific situation send me your request and I'd be happy to forward you this tool.