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K-State Agronomy eUpdates

Department of Agronomy

Kansas State University

2004 Throckmorton PSC

Manhatan, KS 66506

785-532-6101

agronomy@ksu.edu

Extension Agronomy

Expected number of days to plant summer crops in Kansas

Weather conditions and the number of suitable working days in a given time period vary over time and across Kansas. Knowing how many suitable working days might be available to conduct fieldwork for a given crop operation impacts crop choice and machinery investment decisions. Using the “most active” dates to plant and harvest Kansas crops as reported by USDA NASS (2010) (Table 1), the number of days suitable for planting corn, grain sorghum, and soybean each year from 1981 to 2013 were graphed for each Kansas crop reporting district. When two or more spring planting periods overlap, crop acreage competes for farm equipment. It should be noted that these dates are not necessarily the best timing for highest yields, but are simply when farmers are most actively conducting these field operations.

Figure 1. Map of the nine USDA crop reporting districts

 

 

Table 1. Most active planting and harvest dates in Kansas

 

Planting

Harvest

 

Start

End

Start

End

Corn

15-Apr

15-May

10-Sep

25-Oct

Cotton

20-May

15-Jun

25-Oct

15-Dec

Grain Sorghum

15-May

20-Jun

25-Sep

10-Nov

Soybeans

15-May

20-Jun

1-Oct

1-Nov

Winter Wheat

15-Sep

20-Oct

20-Jun

5-Jul

Most active progress is defined as between the 20th to 80th percentile. Source: USDA NASS (2010) Agricultural Handbook Number 628. http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/current/planting/planting-10-29-2010.pdf

 

Corn planting

Most corn acreage in Kansas is planted between April 15 and May 15, according to the 2010 USDA NASS handbook, a period of 28 days. Except for SW district, all crop reporting districts had years with 24 or more days suitable to plant corn, although 8 districts had at least one year with 8 or fewer days suitable during this 28-day period (Fig. 2). The ninth district, the SW, has had at least 13 days to plant corn in each of the last 33 years. Producers in the SC district had between 7 and 27 days suitable for planting corn during the 1981-2013 period. Eight of the 33 years have had 23 to 24 days to plant, while 13 years have had at least 21 days suitable to plant corn in the SC district. For the SW district, 9 years had fewer than 20 days. Twenty-one years had more than 21 days in SW district.

 

Figure 2. Distribution of number of days suitable for planting corn from April 15 to May 15. Source: USDA NASS Kansas Field Office 1981-2013.

 

Grain sorghum and soybean planting

Grain sorghum and soybean are mostly planted during the same 35-day (May 15-June 20) “most active” planting period statewide. Five crop reporting districts (NC, NE, C, EC, and SE) have had at least one year with 10 or fewer days suitable for planting during this 35-day period (Fig. 3). In the SW district, producers had between 16 and 34 days to plant during this 35-day period. About half of the years (17) had at fewer than 26 days, however 16 years had more than 27 to plant in that district. For SC district, only 3 years had fewer than 15 days and 3 years had more than 30 days.

 

Figure 3. Distribution of number of days suitable for planting grain sorghum and soybean from May 15 to June 20. Source: USDA NASS Kansas Field Office 1981-2013.

Using historical observed planting progress data gives an indication of the expected number of days suitable for planting in the current year. Planting and harvesting data on fieldwork progress from all nine USDA Crop Reporting Districts will be available in a forthcoming K-State Research and Extension publication.

We are grateful to USDA NASS Kansas 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