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Early planting raises yield potential, but adds risk

XtremeAg farmers Kelly Garrett, Matt Miles, and Kevin Matthews weigh their early planting options against the risk of increased plant stress.


A fifth-generation farmer, Kelly Garrett farms corn, soybeans, and winter wheat in western Iowa.

We received 0.2 inches of rain this past week. Not a lot, but we need all the help we can get when it comes to soil moisture at this point. We brought the cows in off the cornstalk fields last week so we can get ready to get in the fields with the planter. I am very excited about this upcoming season because of everything we have learned through our XtremeAg trials. My focus this year is going to be on reducing stress levels on the plant. As I have said before, I believe that we are in a very good position when it comes to our fertility program, and most of our yield loss is a result of in-season stress. 

Map of Iowa precipitation first week of March 2022
Photo credit: Iowa Environmental Mesonet

I hope to be able to plant beans during the last week of March. That would be considered very early for our farm. We are planning on using products from Agricen and AgXplore in-furrow to help reduce stress caused by the potential for colder weather that comes with an early planting. If the beans are up and we see the conditions are right for a freeze, then we will do an application of Shield from Integrated Ag Solutions to mitigate the effects. We believe that earlier planted beans have a higher yield potential, but they also have a higher risk of increased stress in cooler soils and erratic spring weather. 

We are working with Iowa State, Netafim, Nutradrip, and Agricen to run a trial on stress mitigation through our drip irrigation using Agricen’s stress mitigation. We think this research could be groundbreaking for farmers.


Matt Miles is a fourth-generation farmer in southeast Arkansas who grows corn, soybeans, rice, and cotton.

It’s been 15 days since we planted our first field of beans and believe it or not, the beans look pretty good! Only problem is they are still staying under the ground. Can you blame them really? It’s been cold and wet since they first started to show life. Surprisingly, they are just as healthy as if it were the month of May. They are about three-quarters of an inch from breaking through the soil. We have some adverse weather predicted in the next few weeks, so only time will tell if this experiment is a failure or success. Then, of course, we must get them through the season.

Line of equipment outside farm shop on Matt Miles' Arkansas farm
Photo credit: XtremeAg

My wife says I’m a pessimist, but I say I’m a realist. I’ll smile either way knowing that I possibly helped someone either keep from planting too early or showing them that it can be done. At XtremeAg we try different things, and win or lose, if the results help even one farmer succeed, then we have succeeded. Hope to see you all at the Commodity Classic and we can talk. Looks like we won’t be in the field next week.


Kevin and his wife, Cindy, own and operate Matthews Family Farms of North Carolina, Inc., Precision Nutrient Management, Inc., and Deep Creek Grain, Inc. in East Bend and Yadkinville.

March has brought some nice weather so far. It has allowed us to get some fieldwork done earlier than expected. We are putting fertilizer on our corn land and our wheat got another shot of fertilizer as well. Everything is looking pretty good at this point, but we are looking a little closer and considering spending a few extra dollars to push that yield up. We are already planning to use products like Nachur’s Finish Line and Concept Agritek’s Sweet Success.

Spreader truck working on Kevin Matthews' North Carolina farm
Photo credit: XtremeAg

It’s been a real challenge this year to rebuild our planters this year with all the supply chain issues. Luckily, the parts are showing up, but it often takes two months to get the complete product. These delays make me nervous considering our goal is to be planting by the end of March.

We will see you all at the Commodity Classic!

Xtreme Ag logo is a team of the nation’s top producers who have come together to share their experience, expertise, knowledge, and farming practices with other farmers. Members get access to exclusive content from the team as well as one-on-one support for their own farming operation. Visit for more information.


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