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5 Tips for Planting Success

March 11, 2021

Jordan Johnson

Agronomy Coordinator

by Jordan Johnson, Agronomy Coordinator

Regardless if the price of corn is $2.50/ bu or $5.00/bu, making the most of every acre is the key to profitable crop production. Below you will find 5 tips to planting success to prepare you for the upcoming weeks. We will focus on planting depth, planting date, population, singulation, hybrid selection, and planter applied fertility. Planting is the single most important pass of the year, taking your time and ensuring this pass is done correctly, can make for a successful harvest.

1. Planter Applied Fertility

This year in Murdock, MN we saw 17 bu response to 4.75 gallons of 7-21-3 MKP in-furrow, when an additional quart of Corn Spike was added, a 31 bu response was recorded. In Wyoming IL, we saw an 8 bu response to in-furrow, and when the addition of CornSpike was added we observed a 24 bu response.  The importance of getting your corn crop off to a good start can’t be overstated. These concentrated bands of plant nutrition are not a replacement for dry fertilizer but serve as colostrum for these young developing seedlings to ensure they are always receiving the nutrition they need.

2. Planting Depth

Often times 2-inch plant depth is going to ensure you are planting into adequate moisture without delaying emergence. Planting into moisture is the key to even timely emergence.  It’s not uncommon to see 10 – 40 bu yield losses when planted too shallow or deep. Inconsistent planting depths can cause uneven emergence. In Precision Planting 2020 PTI yield summary they saw a 42% reduction in yield when emergence 36 hours later than neighboring corn plants.

3. Planting Date

There is no one specific date that guarantees a grower will achieve a maximum yield on your 2021 corn crop. Data from across Nebraska, Kansas, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, and Wisconsin suggest that there is an optimum window. Results state that starting mid-April continuing until mid-May is the optimal time to plant. After mid-May, losses of a little less than 1 bu per/ acre /day occur for the first 20 days.  As quickly as June 4th, corn yield could be 80% of its optimal planted neighbors.

4. Population and Singulation

According to Precision Planting, for every 1% decrease in singulation a 2.1 bushel per acre loss is seen. According to the University of Minnesota, any plant population over 32K plants per acre will achieve 100% of the expected yield.   Conversely, there is a 3% loss in yield for every decrease in population by 3k plants. It is best to know your hybrids and their yield environment to make an informed decision on the right planting population for your farm.

5. Hybrid Selection

Choosing the right hybrid for your farm or fields can greatly influence the profitability of the acre. There have been 1120 trials conducted since 1973 in the UW Corn Performance Trial program. Within a trial, the average difference between the top-and bottom-performing hybrid has averaged 71 bu/acre. Newer Hybrids and improved agronomic practices are responsible for the upward slope of 2.2 bu on USDA’s trendline yields.

To learn more on how QLF Agronomy can help your operation grow high-yielding profitable corn, contact your QLF representative or the corporate office at 1-800-236-2345.




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