High corn prices will likely play an important role in producers’ decisions.

“Corn prices have increased considerably in the last month relative to soybeans,” said Greg Halich, UK Extension agricultural economist. “As a consequence, the profitability of corn is quite high compared to soybeans by historical standards. This will extend the corn planting season further into spring than would normally be expected.”

Using current crop prices, fertilizer costs and potential yield losses due to each day of delayed planting, Halich estimated the latest possible dates for producers to plant corn at a profit compared to soybeans in western Kentucky, east of the Purchase Area. These are May 25 for fair ground, May 29 for good ground and June 2 for the best ground.

Producers in the southwest Purchase Area should subtract five days and those in central Kentucky should add five days.

He added that these dates are flexible and could change if weather conditions don’t improve soon.

“If conditions in the heart of the Corn Belt do not improve quickly, it is likely the market will respond by further increasing the price of corn relative to soybeans,” Halich said. “Should this occur, the dates will move out further into the planting season, and it would be likely that even on fair ground, corn would still be more profitable than soybeans into early June.”

Producers should contact their crop insurance agent to understand their options related to preventative planting, as this could impact their planting decisions, Halich said. The preventative planting date for corn in Kentucky is May 31.

Planting dates are important and do influence yields, but it is only one factor used in determining yields.

Other factors, such as weather and soil conditions, influence yields too and in some cases, have a greater impact than planting dates. For example, only 4 percent of Kentucky’s corn crop was planted by April 19, 2009, and that year yielded the largest corn crop on record, Lee said.

In 2008, flooding slowed planting progress across the state, but due to rain in July and August, some of the highest yielding corn in the state was corn planted after May 1. Therefore, even late-planted corn has the potential for good yields.

Even though corn planting is running behind, it's not a good idea to get in a big hurry. It's probably best to wait until the soil dries out enough for good planting conditions. Here's why: http://southeastfarmpress.com/grains/mudding-corn-could-cause-sidewall-compaction.