Do Your Corn Rows Have That 'Picket Fence' Look?

Now is the time to inspect fields, not when the corn is knee-high.

Published on: Jun 11, 2014

When it comes to planting corn and beans, accuracy is not a luxury, it's a necessity -- with direct bottom line results. So, it's important to do a "post mortem" check now to evaluate your stands and, if there are skips, doubles, etc., try to determine the cause.

Jay Funke owns Del-Clay Farm Equipment near Edgewood, Iowa. He is passionate about helping growers do the best planting job possible. "As a planter dealer, we have to take time to show growers how to run the planter. We want to get them going at all costs to do the best job possible."

Funke believes seedbed preparation is a critical component to attaining a good stand. In his experience, vertical tillage works well. "You get less residue, more even seed spacing, and better emergence," he says. "We saw a lot of problems due to residue this year, especially in fields where a field cultivator was used," he adds.

EVALUATE STANDS: Jay Funke checks corn stands and helps farmers determine population, causes of poor stands – tillage issues, planter problems, etc.
EVALUATE STANDS: Jay Funke checks corn stands and helps farmers determine population, causes of poor stands – tillage issues, planter problems, etc.

Related: Now is Time to Evaluate Planter Performance

The right kind of tillage is the one thing that help make your planter perform better, says Funke. "Farmers will spend $200,000 or more for a planter or combine, but they hate to spend $50,000 to $60,000 on a tillage tool. Tillage is kind of an after-thought."

To confirm what he believes, Funke spends a lot of time in corn fields this time of year evaluating stands and helping customers determine what may have caused problems.  In fact, he "stars" in some videos for White Planters where he talks about the various causes of poor stands.

"Along with other White Planter dealers AGCO has partnered with Funke in the past because of his field and planter experience," says AGCO senior marketing specialist Gary Hamilton. "He takes time to do stand counts and planter evaluations for his customers. Funke provides feedback to keep his customers on the leading edge with planter performance that provides maximum yields and profits.

Related: Check Fields To See How Well Planter Worked

Funke likes to check fields just as corn is emerging and he's happy if he sees a field with the "picket fence" look. That means even seed spacing and even emergence. He randomly selects a row and makes a stand count. For 30-inch rows, he stretches the tape to 17 foot 6 inches. That equals one/one thousandth of an acre. "Multiply the number of plants counted in that distance by 1,000 to get plant population," he explains.  "We are seeing a lot of populations around 27,000 plants per acre that should have been 34,000."

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