While the theory is that people may back off some on planting populations for corn after poor results in 2012, Chris Hurt, Purdue University Extension ag economist, says that some producers may at least use the lesson of 2012 to back off on soil types not suited to handling higher populations.
Roger Wenning, Decatur County, Greensburg, tends to plant at heavy populations, and he doesn't intend to back off because of this one year. He had corn planted early that made 70 bushels per acre, but corn planted later that made up to 160 bushels per acre. He believes that many other factors besides plant population, such as planting date, factored into how corn yielded in 2012. He's also not big on making major changes in his program based on the performance in one year, especially one year so far out in right field that it may not be seen again for another 75 years.
"We've been comparing different planting populations over the past few years, and our populations that are higher nearly always yield more," he says. He plants on a variety of soils, but none of them are considered the best soils around.
Even if the results show that slightly lower population did a little bit better this year, he doesn't intend to change what he does in 2013 from how he approached 2012. His normal planting populations are in the low to mid 30,000 plants per acre range.
He says he and his son, Nick, believe that planting thicker over the past few years than they did before has helped their yields, and he is not going to let one year change his mind. He believes the results in 2012 were more of a result of a combination of planting date, soil type, and date of pollination compared to when it was the hottest and driest, compared to anything else.