Finding the right seeding rate

Each year farmers need to make a number of agronomic decisions in order to maximize yield potential. One of those – is seeding rate.

 Purdue Extension agronomist Bob Nielsen says a decision that should be among the simplest – is actually not so simple.  “It involves a number of characteristics or a number of yield components that all work together to produce bushels per acre,” he says.  “Plants per acre is obviously part of that equation.  The more plants you have means the more ears you have per acre.  So in theory – that’s good.”

But, once the plant population gets high enough, Nielsen tells Brownfield the corn plant responds by reducing the size of the ear.

Which, he says can overcome the benefit of the increased number of ears per acre.  “The whole secret in trying to find optimal population is to identify that tipping point,” he says.  “You have to balance the positive side of getting more ears per acre with the negative side of reduction in ear size.”

Nielsen says their data shows the optimal plant population in Indiana is between 30,000 and 32,000 plants per acre – so the seeding rate should be around 33,000 seeds per acre.

AUDIO: Bob Nielsen, Seeding Population (3:37mp3)


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