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Department of Agronomy

Kansas State University

1712 Claflin Rd.

2004 Throckmorton PSC

Manhatan, KS 66506

785-532-6101

agronomy@ksu.edu

Extension Agronomy

Expected number of days available to plant summer crops in Kansas

Weather and workday probabilities vary over time and across Kansas. Knowledge of workday probabilities and the number of expected suitable days to conduct fieldwork impacts crop choice and machinery investment decisions.

Using the “most active” dates to plant Kansas crops as estimated from USDA NASS weekly Crop Progress and Condition Reports (Tables 1-4), the number of days suitable from 1981 to 2015 period were graphed for corn, soybean, and grain sorghum for each Kansas crop reporting district (see Figure 1 for districts). The “most active” dates are defined as between the 20th and 80th percentile for the 5-year average from 2011 to 2015 period. When two or more planting periods overlap, crop acreage “competes” for field equipment. It should be noted that these dates are not necessarily the best timing for highest yields, but when farmers have been observed to actively conduct these field operations.

The number of days suitable for planting based on historical observations (34-year period) for all crop reporting districts are presented here. We present the number of suitable days for planting summer crops. A separate section and set of graphs for number of days suitable for planting were developed for each crop, by each of the nine Kansas crop reporting districts.

Figure 1. Map of the nine USDA Kansas crop reporting districts.

 

 

 

Table 1. Most active crop planting and harvest dates in Kansas, average of 2011-2015 growing seasons.

 

Planting

Harvest

 

Start

End

Start

End

Corn

April 19

May 17

Sept. 13

Oct. 25

Soybeans

May 10

June 7

Oct. 4

Nov. 1

Sorghum

May 24

June 21

Oct. 11

Nov. 8

Most active progress is defined as between the 20th to 80th percentile.

 

Corn planting

Most corn acreage in Kansas is planted between April 19 and May 17 (Table 1). However, the most active planting dates for each crop reporting district varies. Using the most active planting dates by Crop Reporting District (Table 2), the distribution of the number of days suitable during that time period were graphed in histograms (Figure 2). Most active corn planting starts as early as April 5 in southeast Kansas and as late as May 3 in the western part of Kansas (Northwest and West Central districts). The Southeast district appears to have fewer days suitable for corn planting than the other districts but it should be noted that corn planting had already begun before crop progress or “days suitable for planting” data were reported each year. The most active corn planting dates end as early as May 3 in southeast Kansas and as late as May 24 in western Kansas. The most active corn planting dates in the rest of the crop reporting districts end about mid-May (from May 10 to 17) (Table 2).

Table 2. Most active corn planting and harvest dates by Kansas crop reporting districts, average of 2011-2015 growing seasons.

 

Planting

Harvest

 

Start

End

Start

End

Northwest

May 3

May 24

Sept. 27

Oct. 25

West Central

May 3

May 24

Sept. 20

Oct. 25

Southwest

April 26

May 17

Sept. 20

Oct. 18

North Central

April 26

May 17

Sept. 20

Oct. 25

Central

April 12

May 10

Aug. 30

Oct. 4

South Central

April 19

May 10

Aug. 16

Oct. 4

Northeast

April 19

May 10

Sept. 13

Nov. 1

East Central

April 12

May 10

Aug. 30

Oct. 18

Southeast

April 5

May 3

Aug. 9

Aug. 23

Most active progress is defined as between the 20th to 80th percentile.             

Each crop reporting district had a different number of days suitable to plant corn during the most active dates (Fig. 2). All 9 districts had less than 10 days suitable during the respective dates at least once over the last 35 years. Farms in the Central district had more than 30 days at least once over the last 35 years (Fig. 2). The Southwest district has a more peaked distribution, frequently having 24 to 25 of days suitable for corn planting.

Figure 2. Distribution of days suitable for corn planting in each district of Kansas. Source: USDA NASS Kansas 1981-2015.

 

 

Soybean planting

Soybean is mostly planted between May 10 and June 7 at the state level (Table 1), however the most active planting dates varied by Crop Reporting District (Table 3). The most active planting dates for soybean start as early as May 10 and as late as May 24 (Table 3). The most active planting dates end as early as June 7 in four districts and as late as June 21 in the Southeast district (Table 3).

Table 3. Most active soybean planting and harvest dates by Kansas crop reporting districts, average of 2011-2015 growing seasons.

 

Planting

Harvest

 

Start

End

Start

End

Northwest

May 17

June 7

Oct. 4

Oct. 18

West Central

May 24

June 14

Oct. 4

Oct. 25

Southwest

May 17

June 14

Oct. 11

Nov. 1

North Central

May 10

June 7

Oct. 4

Oct. 25

Central

May 10

June 7

Oct. 11

Oct. 25

South Central

May 10

June 14

Oct. 4

Nov. 1

Northeast

May 10

June 7

Oct. 4

Oct. 25

East Central

May 17

June 14

Oct. 11

Nov. 8

Southeast

May 17

June 21

Oct. 18

Nov. 15

Most active progress is defined as between the 20th to 80th percentile.

                                                                                                                                   

Only the Southwest district has not had at least one year with 10 or fewer days suitable for planting soybean (Figure 3). In the Southwest district, farmers had between 14 and 34 days suitable for planting during this period. In the Northeast district, the soybean planting window is open, but depending on the weather conditions and other factors farmers might have from very few to about 30 days of suitable days to plant soybean. For the Southeast district the suitable number of days ranged mostly from 16 to more than 35, presenting one the widest-open windows to plant soybean of all the crop reporting districts.

 

Figure 3. Distribution of days suitable for soybean planting in each district of Kansas. Source: USDA NASS Kansas 1981-2015.

 

Grain sorghum planting

Grain sorghum is mostly planted between May 24 and June 21 at the state level (Table 1), however the most active planting dates varied by Crop Reporting District (Table 4). The most active grain sorghum planting dates began as early as May 10 in the Southeast District and as late as May 31 in three districts. The most active ending planting dates in Kansas for sorghum are concentrated in a one-week span, ending as early as June 14 in four districts and as late as June 21 in five districts. 

Table 4. Most active grain sorghum planting and harvest dates by Kansas crop reporting districts, average of 2011-2015 growing seasons.

 

Planting

Harvest

 

Start

End

Start

End

Northwest

May 24

June 14

Oct. 18

Nov. 8

West Central

May 31

June 21

Oct. 18

Nov.8

Southwest

May 31

June 21

Oct. 11

Nov. 15

North Central

May 31

June 21

Oct. 18

Nov. 8

Central

May 24

June 14

Oct. 11

Nov. 8

South Central

May 17

June 21

Oct. 4

Nov. 8

Northeast

May 24

June 14

Oct. 18

Nov. 8

East Central

May 24

June 21

Oct. 4

Nov. 15

Southeast

May 10

June 14

Oct. 4

Nov. 1

Most active progress is defined as between the 20th to 80th percentile.

                                                                                                                                   

Seven crop reporting districts had at least one year with 10 or fewer days suitable for planting, only the Southwest and South Central districts had more (Fig. 4). In the Southwest district, producers had between 10 and 27 days to plant during this period. The Southeast, South Central, and East Central Districts had more than 30 days suitable for planting.

 

 

 

 

Figure 4. Distribution of days suitable for grain sorghum planting in each district of Kansas. Source: USDA NASS Kansas 1981-2015.

 

 

 

Summary

Using historical observed planting progress data gives an indication of the expected number of days suitable for planting in the current year. We are grateful to USDA NASS Northern Plains Region Field Office for providing days suitable for fieldwork data for all Crop Reporting Districts.

 

Terry Griffin, Cropping Systems Economist
twgriffin@ksu.edu

Ignacio Ciampitti, Crop Production and Cropping Systems Specialist
ciampitti@ksu.edu

Christian Torrez, Graduate Research Assistant, Department of Agricultural Economics