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Have your agronomic questions answered by a Farm Journal agronomist. E-mail us directly at TestPlots@FarmJournal.com, and we’ll respond on this blog to provide an interactive dialogue.

Will My Upgraded Planter Improve Yield Results?

Jan 18, 2011

Question: I am looking to upgrade my planter. My average corn yield is 175 bu/A. How much yield gain can I expect from better seed placement?

Answer: Corn yields are based on the number of ears per acre and the size of the ears (number of rows around, kernels long and kernel depth).  A 1,000 ears per acre is equal to 5 to 7 bu/A.  The best way to determine what you can expect for a yield increase is to determine your current ear count and the reasons for ear count losses.  For example, if you currently have 30,000 plants per acre but your ear count is only 27,000 ears per acre you have the potential to increase yields 15 to 21 bu/A by increasing your ear count to 30,000 ears per acre (on the 30,000 plants per acre in the field).  Not all ear count loss is due to plant spacing.  With a picket fence stand (uniform spacing), you could still be losing ear count due to uneven emergence.  However, a picket fence stand will help increase ear count.  Keep in mind that a new planter will also need to be set up properly in order to achieve a picket fence stand and increased ear count. If you can, consider attending one of the Farm Journal Planter Clinics this winter where we’ll be covering this particular topic.
Check here for more information on upcoming clinics.


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COMMENTS (1 Comments)

Del - Lebanon, PA
Pennsylvania Extension surveyed 80 fields for deviation of stand. We found that most planters are operating at about a 4 inch deviation. That means that there is about 5-10bu/acre left on the table for no other reason that stand variability. Purdue found about a 2.5-5 bu per inch deviation from 2 inch base. I have seen worn planters renewed with new parts achieving 1.7 inch deviations which is really the goal to be below 2 inch. In my area of Central, Pa. we are planting higher and higher populations and it appears that we need to perhaps consider narrower rows 26- 22-15 or twins we need more research in this area but perhaps fixing an existing planter and allowing for the next genetic advances that may push yields higher might not be a bad idea. Stay tuned there is a lot of debate on this topic.
2:47 PM Jan 31st

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