Warm temperatures in March had a lot of planters rolling early this year. But, on my farm, we waited, because although soil temperature was adequate, it was not ideal and there was still a chance of frost and areas of excess field moisture. So I decided to hold off and hope for more ideal conditions. By the time those conditions came it was April 13th; and a couple days later, when I had 200 acres done, some farmers had 1,000+ acres behind them and were finished.
But I am happy with the way it has worked out. As of this hour, we have 400 acres planted, which puts us at 37%. If Zach gets as big of a day in the planter as he did yesterday we could be at 57% by the time rain comes tonight.
When planting is done at the ideal soil temperature of +60 degrees, seedlings germinate and emerge quickly and evenly, leading to a better stand and higher yields. Last year I learned a hard lesson by planting some ground that was too wet just to get 40 acres done the day before a rain. Those acres ended up with a poor stand, and yield dragged 30 bushels behind what I had hoped for. It also created compaction which had to be relieved by ripping 15 inches deep before planting a crop of canola.
In the picture below you can see unevenness in the stand of canola from ripping at diagonal lines.