Replant or Not to Replant- A Grower's Dilemma

By T. Morgan 7/9/2010

Farmers take a lot of pride in their fields. From the time the seed is planted to the time it’s harvested, it’s a field of constant change. Once the heat hits, it seems like corn plants shoot up in growth. The next thing a farmer knows, the corn is tasseling. Then, before too long, it turns a beautiful gold brown, indicating signs of harvest.

But for many farmers, it’s not smooth sailing. Mother Nature comes into play and puts a damper on things. A beautiful field of green corn can be destroyed in a matter of days, and next thing he knows, a grower is faced with a decision – replant the field or not.

“I’ve always said, it’s fun to do it the first time,” Darrell Aldrich, Excelsior Springs, Mo. farmer, said when describing planting. “It’s exciting when you start. You see that small seed turn into a stalk of corn and watch it grow. It seems like it grows a foot a day. Then you will have beautiful fields of corn – until too much water gets on it and kills it.”

Making the decision to replant isn’t always an easy one because that means more money the grower has to spend. It requires more seed, more diesel fuel and additional fertilizer.

For this Missouri farmer, he evaluates his fields a handful of times, checking on the crop and taking stand counts – or the number of plants per acre – to see what the plant population is. Aldrich said initially he plants anywhere from 29,000-32,000 plants per acre. He said sometimes plants don’t come up or are flooded out, decreasing his stand count. The fewer the plants in the field, the lower the yields at the end of the year. So, if the stand count is too low, the farmer might make the decision to replant.

“This year we went in and spotted in, which means planting in the bare spots only,” Aldrich said. “But in the other part of the field we had nothing, so we tilled it up and replanted it all.”

Aldrich said Lewis Hybrids, a seed company covering Illinois, Missouri and Iowa, has a generous replant policy. As a farmer, this is something Aldrich values.

“In today’s agriculture, the investment in seed is a major decision, and that is why our goal is to partner with our customers. The ‘Lewis There for you! Replant Program’ is an extension of our year-round service promise,” Kimberly Boccardi, Lewis Hybrids employee, said. “This program answers the needs of our customers and provides a solution for their farm. This program has gained us credibility and loyalty from our customers through another tough spring planting season. They know we are there for them when they need us.” 

“It means the world to us,” said Aldrich.

For Aldrich, flooding started to occur in May 2010. Although he has all of his fields replanted, he does custom work for neighboring farmers and has other fields that still haven’t been replanted. He said the Missouri River has been out on many fields, and although farmers pumped most of the water out, the river is up again and causing more flooding.

“By the time it dries back up, it’ll probably be too late to plant beans,” Aldrich said. “Quite a few acres will be impacted.”