As spring days tick off, it is becoming evident that producers, at least in Tennessee and other parts of the South, are slipping behind on planting. Do you have enough planter power to get your current planned planting done during the optimum time period despite weather setbacks? Custom planting might be a good option.

We are behind last year and behind the five-year average on corn planting, maybe as much a 20 percent behind the five-average in some cases. It is not a time to panic because today’s equipment and technology allows producers to cover many acres quickly and efficiently when the planting window opens up.

If it looks like some of your crop may not be planted during the optimum window or you get behind, consider custom planting. It may also be an opportunity, if available, to have your crop precision planted with an up-to-date planter.

It is difficult to reach top yields without getting off to a great start. On the other side, we sometimes find producers who have gotten through with planting and may be wanting to spread their fixed cost out by picking up some custom planting or may be asked to help out a neighbor.

The 2014 University of Tennessee Crop Budgets calculates the total cost for a 16-row corn – soybean split row planter at $12.88 an acre. A 12-row cotton planter is calculated to cost $10.87 an acre. This does not include any costs a producer would have for a seed tender or other methods of getting seed to the planter as well as transportation to the field. A producer’s individualized cost will vary and will depend on the age of equipment, purchase cost, and hours of use.