Even at the seedling stage, corn plants know what competition they’ll have from their neighbors, whether they’re weeds or other corn plants. It’s dubbed the “don’t fence me in” mantra for corn plants. Each plant needs adequate room to produce a factory capable of capturing light efficiently.
Mark Mueller doesn’t want to mess around when it comes to getting cotton planted — or harvested — from the flat countryside surrounding Stamford, Texas.
Each year questions arise about the correct seeding rate for hard red spring wheat, says Jochum Wiersma, University of Minnesota Extension small-grains specialist.
Variables … variables … variables. There are so many variables that go into corn yield.
With seed costs rising and technology allowing growers to easily vary seed planting rates within their fields, many growers are interested in doing replicated strip trials on plant populations to see what would give them the best return on their investment. Yield and profit are keys in the decision-making process when growers are determining their planting rates.
At late-winter meetings, the Channel seed brand was promoting what its agronomists and sales reps call “seedsmanship.” What’s that?
With high-priced seed, the economic consequences of planting soybeans at a rate higher than needed have never been greater. With high-priced soybeans, the consequences of losing yield because the final stand was too thin have never been greater. And the consequences of losing yield because of improper planting date selection have never been greater.
During the last 80 years, corn planting populations have increased steadily and so have yields. While there are many factors that have led to the rise in corn yields, it’s clear a correlation exists between increased plant populations and increase in yield.
Sometimes bad things happen to soybean fields resulting in stand losses, so decisions need to be made on whether it will pay to replant.
Average corn seeding rates used by growers in the U.S. and Canada have increased from 23,000 seeds per acre in 1985 to more than 30,000 seeds per acre today. That’s a steady move up during that period of almost 300 additional seeds per acre each year.
In the early 1900s, when the primary power source for farmers was the horse, corn row spacing commonly ranged from 38 to 40 inches to accommodate the animal’s wider girth. While tractors eventually replaced the arguably more temperamental horses, row spacing didn’t change much until research in the 1960s showed narrowing it to 30 inches could increase corn yields by 5% or more.
Dry conditions persist in many parts of Iowa as I write this column. Last month I wrote about the impacts of dry soil conditions at planting on yield in different parts of the state using a corn simulation model (computer model).
For soybean planting rates, what’s optimum, considering the increase in seed costs? Looking back on historical practices regarding planting soybeans, there long has been a tendency to overplant this particular crop in the Midwest to ensure enough plants per acre for optimal yield.
Growers working with the Iowa Soybean Association’s On-Farm Network conducted replicated strip trials for the past two years to study how various seeding rates affect yield.
Most of us will remember the spring of 2012 — at least if our memory bank accurately safeguards the data. We were all surprised and probably pleased by one of the warmest months of March in history, and now as April rushes by, conditions are holding closer to normal. By the time you read this, who knows what the year will offer.
Every year some farmers are faced with making the decision of how to handle soybeans with reduced stands. Whether stands are reduced by hail, frost, insects, soil compaction or disease, farmers need to decide whether to replant or accept the existing stand.
Indiana seed corn producers harvested about 60% to 70% of a normal crop last season. For a variety of reasons, there should be plenty of corn to plant. A scramble may be on to get as many units of top sellers as you like. And you may not be able to be choosy about the seed grade and size.
Should we drop our corn populations this spring since it looks like the drought may stick around?” If I had a dollar for every time I fielded that question, I could put a hefty down payment on a new pickup.
Concerns over higher seed costs have caused farmers, agronomists and seed suppliers to revisit the relationship between soybean plant population and soybean yield. To help answer the question — “How thick or thin should I plant my soybeans?” — two Iowa State University soybean research agronomists recently wrote a new fact sheet titled “Understanding Soybean Plant Population Recommendations for Iowa.”
Variable-rate planting is becoming a fairly standard practice in corn. It’s a new concept in sugarbeets.
For Josh Thornsbrough, the results speak for themselves. In 11 out of 12 trials, twin rows outyielded traditional 30-inch row spacing in corn.
Here are two quick-read ideas that might apply in 2010.
Texas farmers Darrell Cross and son Cody added solid-row soybeans in 2009 to a crop mix of cotton, sorghum, wheat and, sometimes, corn. Here is an update on how Cross Family Farms got the beans harvested.
You took your best shot and planted when soil conditions were right. Weather and perhaps insects conspired to leave you with a ratty stand. What now?
Seed is expensive, and adding traits to provide insect control and herbicide resistance make it even more costly. But, it’s a necessary part of what you do as a row-crop producer in Iowa.
The ability to vary seeding rates across the field with some of the newer planters is another reason growers are interested in participating in the Iowa Soybean Association’s On-Farm Network plant population study. With the rising cost of seed, there’s a lot of interest in reducing seeding rates per acre — shaving them if you can — without hurting corn and soybean yields.
Darin Anderson is using 10% less seed corn than he used to, and is getting the same or higher yields.
Planting exactly the right amount of seed in the right soil is a big deal to Rich Schlipf, Milford. When it comes to planting, he’s all about planting the number of seeds per acre he thinks the soil can handle. And he’s also all about giving every seed he plants the best environment possible.
Maybe Rich Schlipf wouldn’t feel comfortable flying a 747 jet, but he’s got almost as many tools to control and fine-tune planting as a pilot does to fly his plane. He can adjust seeding rate on the go, but he also knows when he’s planting too fast, when his units have the right down pressure on them, and when his seed is singulated properly.
Suppose you pay $45 per unit of soybean seed. Each unit contains 140,000 seeds. So soybean seed cost you 32 cents per 1,000 beans. If you plant 175,000 seeds per acre, seed cost equals $56 per acre.
The slowest planting speed of 4 miles per hour produced the best stand placement in the Indiana Prairie Farmer/Precision Planting trial at Purdue’s Throckmorton Research Center. The distance between plants in one-one-thousandth of an acre was measured in each plot. From those numbers, Jeff Phillips, Tippecanoe County Extension ag educator, calculated the standard deviation. It’s a measure used to determine how much a stand varies from an ideal stand.
Silage worries have had producers asking a bunch of questions this spring.
This fifth article in the Tough No-till Q&A series tackles evaluating no-till crop stands. Russell McLucas, Pennsylvania No-Till Alliance board member, and Del Voight, Penn State University Extension grain crop specialist, address concerns and the secrets to high-yielding stands.
We’ve encouraged you to proceed cautiously when adding new hybrids or varieties. Add only a small percentage of new hybrids each year. Make sure you’ve seen the hybrids growing in person. Seek yield data that backs up performance claims.
The top winners of this year’s corn yield contest grew more corn than any North Carolina producers have ever grown in the state. Greene County corn growers Jimmy Harrell and Tommy Hardy of H&H Farms and Hardy Farms, near Snow Hill, produced 399.26 bushels per acre on their Irrigated Division, conventional-tillage category corn entry.
The spring of 2012 brought agronomists across the state thousands of questions about cornfields that initially emerged relatively evenly but soon began looking worse. Fields looked decent from VE to around V2 to V3 growth stage, but then uneven spots started to show up. When the corn reached about V5 to V7, the better plants really took off, and the bad areas looked like they were “stalling out.”
Twin-row corn planting is hardly a new concept, but there’s new interest in the practice. Research has indicated that twin rows may take yields to the next level.