Counting Corn Adds Up to a Better Crop

August 1, 2013 07:04 AM

Corn ear numbers are a good indicator of the yield potential you can expect at harvest, according to Brad Beutke, agronomist for Crop-Tech Consulting, Heyworth, Ill.

"A 1,000 ears per acre is equal to 5 to 7 bu/A," he says.
The following formula is a simple tool Beutke says farmers can use yet this season to estimate corn yield potential in their fields.
  • Measure off 17 feet 5 inches in a row of corn planted in 30-inch rows.*
  • Count the number of plants in the measured-off space.
  • Subtract the plants that won’t put on a good, harvestable ear. 

As you total your plant numbers, bear in mind that stalk diameter and plant spacing will impact the number of harvestable ears, Beutke notes.
"A skinny stalk diameter when compared to neighboring plants, indicates that that particular plant is behind in maturity and will have trouble pollinating or will produce a very small ear and isn’t something we want to count," he says.
Beutke provides more details on how to use this simple corn counting formula in the following video, filmed during the 2013 Michigan Corn College.

*Table 1. Length of row to equal 1/1000th of an acre for various row widths
Row spacing
Row Length
13 feet 1 inch
13 feet 6 inches
17 feet 5 inches
23 feet 9 inches
34 feet 10 inches
*Information provided courtesy of University of Minnesota Extension Service.



Thank you to the 2013 Corn and Soybean College sponsors:

Agrotain, BASF, Great Plains Mfg., Novozymes, Plant Tuff, Precision Planting, SFP, Wolftrax

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