When it comes to maturity, hedge your bets. Seed company sources tend to recommend spreading your investment across 25% early-maturing hybrids, 50% midrange and 25% late-maturing hybrids.

Though many experts agree on the ratios, strategies differ.

Mike Zwingman, agronomy research leader for United Farmers Cooperative in York, Neb., suggests planting short-season hybrids first. That spreads out the pollination window, helping reduce the risk of summer heat stress — as well as the stress of having too many acres ready for the combine at the
same time.

Peter Thomison, corn production expert at Ohio State University, prefers to see full-season hybrids planted first to give them a good shot at collecting as many heat units as possible and drying down adequately by season’s end. Full-season hybrids tend to suffer greater yield loss from planting delays compared to short- or midseason hybrids, he notes.

Also consider your harvest operation and bottlenecks — from drying and storage strategies to hauling delays, other crop harvests and more.