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2005 Annual Report: Planting Populations in Corn

Objective

With the high cost of seed and the ever fluctuating market, producers are trying to reduce their inputs as much as possible to maximize their net profit. One such input that can be varied is the seed population at planting. This demonstration is designed to help producers make decisions on planting rates taking into account conditions in Northwest Missouri.

Methods and Materials

This demonstration consisted of plots 250-feet long and 30 feet wide. The seed was no-till planted on May 16, 2005 into soybean stubble and harvested on October 18. The six different planting populations used were:

  • Plot #1 - 24,200 seeds/acre
  • Plot #2 - 27,700 seeds/acre
  • Plot #3 - 32,000 seeds/acre
  • Plot #4 - 35,600 seeds/acre
  • Plot #5 - 41,200 seeds/acre
  • Plot #6 - 48,600 seeds/acre

Results

All of the corn emerged at approximately the same time regardless of planting population. Emergence varied from 95.0 % to 99.5% as summarized in Table 1.

Plot #Planted
Population
(seeds/acre)
Stand
(plants/acre)
Emergence
(%)
124,20023,00095.0%
227,70027,00097.5%
332,00031,00096.9%
435,60034,00095.5%
541,20041,00099.5%
648,60047,00096.7%

Table 1 - 2005 Corn population demonstration emergence rates.

Yields ranged from 183.2 bu/acre to 202.8 bu/acre. The yield data is shown in Table 2. With an average of 197.5 bu/acre and a standard deviation of 7.3 bu/acre, there was a significant difference between the different populations.

Plot #Planted
Population
(seeds/acre)
Moisture
@ Harvest
(%)
Adjusted
Yield 15.5%
moisture
(bu/acre)
124,20015.4201.7
227,70015.8202.8
332,00016.0197.1
435,60015.9200.5
541,20015.7199.9
648,60015.3183.2

Table 2 - 2005 Corn population demonstration yield data.

Figure 1 shows the average yields for each planting population over the past three growing seasons. Previous research has suggested that planting approximately 30,000 seeds/acre would provide the best net return for seed planted. This demonstration has shown no significant yield increases beyond a planted population of 27,700 and supports the earlier research.