Why do we plant the crops in the order that we do? Some questions to ask yourself should include why do we plant corn, a plant originating in Mexico (sub-tropical) into 40 cold soils in April while we plant soybeans, originating from northern China (temperate climate) into the warmer soils in May? For many it’s because we fear that frost damage and how it can take out the soybeans while the corn growing point should still be safe below the soil surface. Here’s a few things to consider as you make plans this year and we see more growers plant some beans first. Check out the chart above that shows optimal soil temperature for corn emergence is 85 . Now consider the chart below that shows how yield DECREASED for corn planting too early but does NOT drop off for early planted beans. This chart is from USDA-Illinois research and tests the extreme early planting of March, but the point is still relative across the Midwest. Researchers in this 2-year study (2020-2021) had hard frosts on the beans that led to a 25% stand loss dropping populations down to only 67,846 plants per acre yet had a final yield of 77 bushels per acre which was 99% of the max yield. Early stress on soybeans, whether cold temps, lower pops, or even heavy weed pressure, do not impact final yields like those early stresses do for corn or alfalfa. Early stress seems to make the beans branch out and allows lower populations thanks to branching Don’t be afraid to try some early beans.