After a challenging start to the spring, planting kicked into full gear through mid and late May.
Although recent seasons made the timing feel almost abnormal, it's one of the more normalized planting seasons we've had in a while.
The speed with which planting can occur these days is spectacular, with corn acreage in multiple tens of millions going down in just a couple of weeks' time. That's one observation for 2013 ... the second is the amount of attention being given to variable rate seeding recommendations this spring, in particular by Monsanto through its FieldScripts pilot offering.
About 150 growers, serviced by specially chosen and trained seed retailers, are participating in the program. Retailers have set up on-farm trials with side by side runs using "traditional" seeding equipment and prescriptions with the FieldScripts recommendation (using the Precision Planting planter equipment, which Monsanto now owns) to create a trial that will reveal any yield benefit from use of FieldScripts.
With the early planting delay there was still work to be done, but in conversations with some of the retailers implementing the pilot, they say growers have been impressed with the how the planter equipment executes the prescription.
There's a long season to go before we know whether the anticipated benefit, projected at somewhere around 7 bushels, will be delivered. But nearly everyone corn grower and agronomist will be eager to find out if FieldScripts will bring it home.