Economic Tidbits

How long does planting take?

Figure 1 plots the average planting progress for corn and soybeans in Nebraska between 1996-2021 for weeks 13 through 27 of the year, roughly April 1 through June 30. The data comes from the weekly crop progress reports released by USDA NASS. Planting of corn starts first, typically around April 8, with 83 percent of the crop planted between April 21-May 21, or weeks 17 through 20. The earliest finish for corn planting was last year when it was completed during the week ending June 6. The latest finish occurred in 2019 when corn planting wasn’t completed until the week ending June 23.

The start of soybean planting lags corn by about two weeks and usually doesn’t start in earnest until week 16, about April 22, with 83 percent of the crop planted between April 28 and June 1. The earliest finish for soybean planting occurred in 2012 when it was completed during the week ending June 3. The latest finish was the first week in July, occurring in 2015 and 2019. Between 1996-2021, it took Nebraska farmers 48 days on average to plant the corn crop and 54 days to plant soybeans. The bulk of corn and soybean planting occurred between April 8 and June 15.

Figure 1. Average Weekly Corn & Soybean Planting Progress, 1996-2021

Source: Nebraska Farm Bureau analysis based on USDA NASS data

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