While your planter is tucked away in storage, it could have left a bad impression
If your corn stand isn’t up to par, now’s a good time to head out to the field and figure out why. Non-uniform corn stands place your investment in your planter, seed, other inputs and time at risk of lower returns.
Research by DuPont Pioneer shows if the aggregate plant spacing standard deviation is improved by just 1", the yield benefit is 3.4 bu. per acre. The yield increase needed to offset the cost of a planter meter calibration for a 600-acre corn producer using a 12-row planter is only 0.5 bu. per acre.
Non-uniform plant spacing includes misplaced plants, missing plants and extra plants. There are varying degrees of loss associated with each of the problems, and loss isn’t for sure.
According to Pioneer research, misplaced plants might decrease yield compared with a uniform stand. Missing plants will decrease yield relative to a uniform stand. You can expect to see the yield of adjacent plants to increase, but it won’t be enough to compensate for the missing plant.
Extra plants might slightly increase yield if the stand is below optimum. Yield of doubled plants as well as adjacent plants will decrease, but the yield of the extra plant will likely compensate for this reduction.
Fine-Tune Planter Performance
Many factors can contribute to non-uniform plants in a corn field. One of the most common is failing to properly calibrate the planter, says Farm Journal Associate Field Agronomist Missy Bauer. To fix this, check each component of the planter and make adjustments before and during planting:
- clutch assembly
- seed meter
- parallel arms
- row cleaners
- no-till coulters
- gauge wheels
- disk openers
- seed tubes
- closing wheels
- seed placement