The majority of no-tillers will plant corn first in 2024, according to informal polls conducted by No-Till Farmer.

No-Till Farmer surveyed farmers in the free No-Till Email Discussion Group, on Facebook and on X (formerly Twitter) in the last 2 weeks. 76% of the no-tillers who responded on Facebook are planting corn first, while X users were more evenly split:

The email discussion group was also closer to an even split, but soybeans came out ahead. About 55% will plant soybeans first, 27% will plant corn first, and 18% will plant corn and soybeans at the same time. Here are some of the reasons behind these no-tillers’ decisions:

“I am planting soybeans first. All my corn acres have cover crops with vetch and clover, so more time is better on that anyway. Last year, I harvested some beans for a farmer. He planted some beans April 20, then switched to corn. It was several weeks later (I think mid-May) until he got the rest of the beans done then. I forget the exact numbers but his first planting was well over 80 bushels per acre. The later planting was somewhere around 70. Same farm, same soil.”

— Nate Yoder, Cynthiana, Ky.

“Corn. The farm I have going to corn will dry out faster than the farm I have going to soybeans.”

— Jason Harrold, Akron, Ind.

“We will have both planters go to the field at the same time, one planting soybeans and one planting corn, no sooner than May 1.” 

— Jim Maw, Ontario, Canada 

“A lot of folks around me started with corn. I am putting my bean plates into the planter today (April 19). I’ll plant my relay rye-bean fields first, switch to corn if it’s fit, and then go back to any bean fields I might have left.”

— Josh Nelson, Belmond, Iowa

“Plant beans first. Without spring tillage, the seed bed early isn't as ideal, i.e. wetter soil. Beans seem to handle more variable conditions throughout the field then corn.”

— Thomas Brass

“Silage corn. Most important to me. Then grain corn and beans around Memorial Day.”

— Kevin Bush, Wattsburg, Pa.

“First it has to stop raining. Both planters are ready, and now we have 2 tractors and 2 drivers so we can plant both at the same time. With everything tiled, we can go everywhere at once. 375 acres of each. 2 days should plant it all.”

— Eric Kaiser, Napanee, Ontario, Canada

“Absolutely plant soybeans first! The first day of summer is June 21 so the longer the days of light the better. With much higher input costs for corn, you want the maximum soil benefits of seeing corn jump out of the ground ASAP. Besides, I want to see my cover crop grow as long as possible in the spring, especially hairy vetch.”

— Mike Starkey, Brownsburg, Ind.

“For us, we start both planters the same day if the soils are fit. The fields going to beans with big green covers and 220-bushel corn residue will take a day or 2 longer to get fit, so beans usually start a day later or so, but we can plant all the beans in 60% of the time we can plant the corn (just a mph difference on the 60-foot planters), so usually finish the same day or so.

And, this one is real controversial, we only plant 10% of the crop on any one day until we get past May 25th. It lets us go home before dark, stay sharp, do maintenance and spend time with the family. In our area, spreading out the planting window almost always results in a higher average yield across the whole farm. Not always, of course, but we attempt to grow a very consistent, ever increasing,   average yield, which is how it has worked out over the last 30 years. Likely not optimal for your farm, but it works for us.”

— Ken Rulon, Arcadia, Ind.

“No doubt sunflowers and hemp — originally from cold climates like Russia and Ukraine — are best and first. This was the topic of my Australian hemp conference just last week. We want to sow and grow earlier hemp during the cooler, moister winter and spring in south Australia’s Mediterranean climate.” 

— John Muir, Queensland, Australia

What will you or did you plant first in 2024? Let us know in the comments below. 

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