Many Nebraska producers could increase their corn yields and profits this year by increasing seed rates at planting, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension soils specialist says.
According to current Nebraska research in UNL NebGuide G2216, Row Spacing and Seedling Rate for Corn in Nebraska (http://www.ianrpubs.unl.edu/sendIt/g2216.pdf), profitable yield increases are likely by increasing plant population at harvest beyond the U.S. Department of Agriculture-reported averages in Nebraska of 29,000 plants per acre (30,450-31,900 seeds per acre) for irrigated production and 21,850 plants per acre (22,943-24,035 seeds per acre) for rainfed production, said Charles Wortmann, UNL Extension soils specialist.
Planting 34,000 seeds per acre for irrigated corn and 24,000 to 30,000 for rainfed corn, depending on expected yield, with 30-inch row spacing is expected on average to give the best net returns.
This NebGuide provides guidelines to determining row spacing, twin-row planting, and seeding rate for eastern and central Nebraska. It is based on findings of research conducted at UNL research centers and on farmers' fields.
Use of 30- and 15-inch row spacing and twin row versus single row planting are addressed. Guidelines to seeding rates consider seed cost and expected yield for maximizing profit per acre.
The NebGuide was written by Ross Barr, master’s degree graduate student; Stephen Mason, professor of agronomy and horticulture; Mitchell Novacek, former master’s degree graduate student; Jennifer Rees, UNL Extension educator and Wortmann.
For continued information this season about seeding rates this season, visit CropWatch, UNL Extension’s crop production newsletter, at cropwatch.unl.edu.
For western Nebraska rates, see UNL Extension NebGuide G2068, Recommended Seeding Rates and Hybrid Selection for Rainfed (Dryland) Corn in Nebraska at http://www.ianrpubs.unl.edu/sendIt/g2068.pdf.
UNL Extension is in the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.