A Long-term Research Study Investigating the Effect of Planting Date on Corn Yield Potential and Moisture Content in the Northern Plains


  • To determine how planting date can impact overall yield potential and how to utilize that data to help provide timely planting recommendations.
  • This research was conducted with a goal of understanding the risks and benefits of planting corn at various timings throughout the spring in the Northern Plains (North and South Dakota).
  • The goal of this study is to provide planting date guidance for maximizing yield potential. 
  • This data may be used as a reference guide to help growers make replant decisions when stands are reduced by frost or other factors. 




  • On-going trial since 2009 across Northern Plains (North and South Dakota). 
  • This data is a summary of a small data set with limited locations. Values are based on averages and not significantly analyzed. 
  • To compare data across years, results are presented as a percentage of the maximum yield for the year and corn product.
  • Trial Design: Non-replicated strip trials.



Year and Location of Strip Trials



  • The highest yields were attained when corn was planted from late April to the first part of May, with a steady decline as the season progressed (Figure 1).
  • The potential to maximize yield decreased 10% from May 15th to June 10th (26 days), resulting in an average daily loss of 0.4% (Figure 1).
  • Results show from the 10+ years of data moisture content has a linear response to planting date (Figure 2). 
  • From the first planting date (April 10th) to the last (June 10th), over those 60 days, moisture content increased by 35%, resulting in an average daily gain of moisture content by 0.6% (Figure 2.)


image Figure 1. After May 15th, the potential to maximize yield decreased 0.4% per day (identified as the time between the arrows).
image Figure 2. On average, the percent moisture content increased 0.6% from the first planting date to the last (indicated by the arrows).


  • Over 10+ years of data, the data indicates that the optimum planting date to maximize corn yield potential is the end of April to first part of May (April 25th to May 10th).
  • After May 15th, the capacity to maximize yield potential at 100% is greatly reduced (-0.4% per day).
  • Moisture content appears to have a linear response to planting date over the 10+ years (later planting = higher moisture content). 
  • This data is to be used as a guidance for recommendations on optimum planting timeframe. Individual locations and years will vary. 
  • The best practice for planting corn in the Northern Plains is when soil conditions (temperature and moisture) and the weather forecast are favorable.





This browser is no longer supported. Please switch to a supported browser: Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Safari.