Early Planting Could Lead to Record Corn Yields

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Mild temperatures and low precipitation levels could mean a record year for corn production.

It's about this time each year when farmers are getting back into the fields.

Corn farmer Curt Friesen says he normally begins planting around April 17th. But this year, corn producers across the state have gotten a head start on their planting.

"Guys have been in the field, itching to go for probably a good month," Brandon Hunnicutt says.

Hunnicutt says that's because of the mild winter and early spring weather.

"We're way above average in temperature, and way behind in precipitation around here," Hunnicutt says. "In a year like this, you see a lot more acres get put in in a lot shorter time."

Nebraska farmers say that head start on planting could mean bigger yields this year than in the past.

"Having ideal conditions like we're having is very favorable," Friesen says. "The moisture is great, field conditions are perfect so we're looking forward to a good crop."

USDA planting reports predict farmers across the country will plant 4% more corn than last year, totaling 96 million acres.

Friesen says that prediction has a good chance of coming true.

"With everybody getting an early start, it looks like maybe they're correct," Friesen says.

Hunnicutt agrees.

"We're going to have plenty of corn out there, especially for food and feed and fuel that we all desperately need," Hunnicutt says.

But even with the early planting and promising predictions, Hunnicutt and Friesen say the spring and summer months could still bring weather that impacts how the crops turn out.