2019 was a growing season that will stick in our memories for years to come. Figure 1 shows the accumulated precipitation compared to normal conditions across Ohio for April and May 2019. Near record spring rains across west central and northwest Ohio (seventh and third wettest on record respectively), fell on already saturated ground, contributing to unprecedented delays in planting progress. Figures 2 and 3 show the planting progress for both corn and soybean planting from 1979-2019. Planting for both crops was the slowest on record and we pushed the boundaries with planting dates extending later into the season. These conditions also led to a record 1,564,611 unplanted acres at the end of the season.
The excessive rainfall during the 2019 season provided an opportunity to assess the impacts of extreme planting delays on yield in Ohio. Thanks to everyone who contributed data to the survey, we received data from 489 fields in 51 Ohio counties.
Reported planting dates reported ranged from 4/10 to 6/28 for corn fields, with an average planting date of 5/30. This average planting date is approximately 15 days later than USDA progress reports for 50% acres planted from 2015-2018. Table 1 shows the reported corn yield, moisture, and test weight by Ohio crop reporting district. Despite the challenging season, yields were higher than the 10-average yield reported by USDA NASS in all districts except the Central, and South Central districts. Figure 4 shows the relationship between planting date and yield. Yields trended lower as planting date was delayed.
Planting dates reported ranged from 4/4 to 7/15 for soybean fields, with an average planting date of 6/11. This was off the 2015-2018 average 50% planted progress date reported by USDA by about 19 days. Table 2 shows the reported soybean yield, moisture, and test weight by Ohio crop reporting district. Despite the challenging season, yields were higher than the 10-average yield reported by USDA NASS in all districts except the West Central, Central, and Southeast districts. Figure 5 shows the relationship between planting date and yield. Yields trended lower as planting date was delayed.
Table 2. Average reported soybean yields, moisture, and test weight by crop reporting districts. USDA NASS 10-year average county yields included for comparison. Values in red are averaged from data from fewer than ten fields.
Overall, reported 2019 yields, where farmers were able to plant, were higher than expected for both corn and soybeans in Ohio. While good yields were achieved at some late planted locations, the risk of yield loss increased as planting was delayed for both crops.