The new NASA Harvest consortium uses satellite data to learn more about food systems and agriculture. The organization is a partnership between NASA and the University of Maryland. One recent research project from the consortium examined corn and soybean planting dates in the corn belt from 2000 to 2020. With the expanded data set, they hope to help growers better navigate farm management practices and changing field conditions.

Additional research from Crop-Tech Consulting found planting soybeans early may help increase yield, leading some soybean farmers to plant the crop before corn. Researcher and Farm Journal Field Agronomist Ken Ferrie notes this was not the case even a decade ago.

For farmers wanting to plant soybeans earlier, Ferrie encourages growers to be prepared with treated seed and herbicide applications. However, he also notes corn planting is less forgiving than soybeans. If farmers must prioritize one, he recommends corn go in when conditions are right. Read more from Ferrie and see NASA Harvest maps here.

See the full study from NASA Harvest here.