Despite advances in farm machinery and crop management practices, the maximum number of Indiana corn and soybean acres planted per week in 2015 is not much different than 20 years ago, according to a new article by Purdue Extension corn specialist Bob Nielsen.

“Certainly, individual farmers can plant more acres of corn and soybeans per day with today’s large field equipment than 20 year ago,” Nielsen said. “This fact encourages optimism that delayed starts to the planting season can be overcome by the ability of today’s modern planters to plant a greater percentage of the state’s crop per week when ‘push comes to shove.’”

Nielsen’s review of historical statewide planting progress as reported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, however, suggests that there has been little improvement in the pace of planting much of the state’s total crop acreage. He said a possible reason could be that there are fewer farmers planting a similar number of acres statewide today compared with years ago.

“The number of corn and soybean growers in Indiana has decreased over time, and those remaining are farming more acres than they did 20 years ago,” he said. “Even though farm machinery is larger today and covers more acres per day than 20 years ago, fewer farmers are farming more acres and so total planting progress, in terms of percent of total acres per week, remains fairly unchanged.”

The article, “Corn and Soybean Planting Progress in Indiana Over the Years,” appears online at http://www.kingcorn.org/news/timeless/PlantingPace.html.

Nielsen said the quickest corn planting week in the past 20 years was in 2001, when 2.9 million acres were planted in a single week, accounting for half that year’s total crop.

In 2014, Hoosier corn farmers planted 2.4 million acres in a single week, or about 41 percent of the total crop.

The most soybeans acres planted per week also happened in 2001, when 2.4 million acres were planted in a week, about 42 percent of that year’s crop.