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Battle for the Belt: which Crop should be Planted First, Corn or Soybean?

By Osler Ortez and Laura Lindsey

  • Which crop has the smallest yield penalty for delayed planting?
  • Can you adjust your management practices to mitigate losses due to late planting?
  • How are insects, diseases, weeds, and other factors affected by planting date?
  • We will answer these questions and more!

For both soybean and corn, earlier planting is promoted to maximize yield. However, due to bad weather, the planting date window is often short and disconnected (e.g., good weather in April, bad weather in May, then good weather again in June). Farmers often ‘debate’ which crop should be planted first- corn or soybean.

The ‘Battle for the Belt’ project is a field research and extension effort to help address the question, what crop should be planted first- corn or soybean?

soybean and corn

Corn vs. Soybeans

Corn vs. Soybeans


Corn vs. Soybeans (Who will win?)

Researchthe plan is to conduct field experiments at three locations in 2023: Western, Northwest, and Wooster. Five planting date windows: 1) ultra-early (first two weeks of April), 2) early (second two weeks of April), 3) normal (first two weeks of May), late (last two weeks of May), and very late (first two weeks of June). Corn and soybean will be planted side by side on each planting date. The plan is to repeat the study in 2024.

Extensionon the extension side, we plan on having short, bi-weekly video updates from the field that will be advertised through the CORN newsletter, YouTube, and Twitter. Video updates will include agronomists (OSU and others), other specialists (e.g., plant pathology, weed science, entomology), and farmers. Each will ‘weigh’ the benefits/drawbacks of planting each crop too early or too late. In addition, the research outcomes will be presented as extension articles and talks at extension programming events and field days across the state.

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