University research reveals that the optimal planting time for corn is late April to early May. Yields often suffer if the corn isn’t in the ground by the middle of May. However, favorable summer growing conditions can often make up for late planting, and corn farmers are clearly hoping for cooperative summer weather.

Most of the corn crop should get planted, and experts who study the corn market expect the U.S. will reach 92.2 million planted acres. Corn farmers are hoping for a repeat of 2009 when favorable summer growing conditions compensated for planting delays.

Worry about the corn crop this year is particularly pronounced because supplies are so tight. U.S. ending stocks are forecast to be 675 million bushels in 2010-2011, a 15-year low. For U.S. stocks to reach the more comfortable level of 1 billion bushels, the United States will need an average yield of 163.5 bushels per acre, which is just 1.2 bushels short of the record high yield set in 2009. To rebuild stock levels and meet growing demand for food and fuel, strong yields are a must, and virtually every one of the intended 92.2 million acres of corn must be planted.

Throughout history, farmers have proved to be reliable. They work hard, quietly overcome challenges and dependably deliver a harvest that meets market needs. If the weather cooperates, corn farmers will once again deliver this year.