According to Purdue Extension corn specialist Bob Nielsen, this spring's planting season has been so slow it's among the five slowest years for spring planting in the last 20 years.
That's no surprise, given the amount of precipitation that has blanketed the Corn Belt states in the past three weeks, causing flooding situations, impeding field-dry out and generally making fieldwork next to impossible.
But despite the wet conditions in many areas, some producers are determined to get into the field as quickly as possible to avoid more hits to their crops' yields, but they could be filling the planter with hybrids they didn't originally choose.
The question of switching hybrids due to a late start has several variables, and several outcomes. Nielsen said a switch would be to hybrids that don't take as long to reach maturity, but the tradeoff could potentially be lower yields.
Nielsen notes a related concern with delayed planting of full-maturity hybrids is the risk of high moisture at harvest and the resulting costs of drying or price discounts.
According to research prepared by DuPont Pioneer, however, adapted full-season corn hybrids still offer the best yield and profit advantage when planting delays aren't extreme.
Mark Jeschke, DuPont Pioneer agronomy research manager, noted that it is important to weigh your decision carefully.
"If you switch to a shorter season hybrid too soon, you are giving up higher yield potential and profits," he said.
Pioneer said university research shows that full-season hybrids adjust to late planting with a reduction in their growing degree unit requirement of up to six units per day of planting delay. For example, hybrids planted May 20 may require 150 fewer heat units to reach maturity than the same hybrids planted April 25. This adjustment reduces the risk of fall frost damage to these hybrids.