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Extension > Agriculture > Crops > Corn Production >Planting > Manage corn planting decisions to optimize yield and economic return

Manage corn planting decisions to optimize yield and economic return

By Jeff Coulter, Extension Corn Agronomist
2012

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With increasing costs for corn production and fluctuating grain prices, it is critical that corn growers make sound decisions about planting and the use of purchased inputs. From 2009 to 2011, research was conducted in southern and central Minnesota to evaluate corn response to plant population, and whether this is affected by planting date, hybrid maturity, and row width.

Figure 1. Corn response to row width and plant population at
Lamberton and Waseca, MN from 2009 to 2010. Each dot is
the average of 3 hybrids.

Figure 2. Corn response to hybrid maturity and plant population at
Lamberton, Morris, Rochester, and Waseca, MN from 2009 to 2010.

Figure 3. Corn response to planting date and plant population at
Lamberton, Morris, and Waseca, MN from 2009 to 2010.

Figure 4. Corn response to plant population at Lamberton, Morris, Rochester, and Waseca, MN from 2009 to 2010. Each dot is the average of 228 plots.

Figure 5. Response of corn grain yield to planting date at Lamberton, Morris, and Waseca, MN from 2009 to 2011. Each dot is the average of 6 hybrids.

Key findings:

Table 1. Corn response to plant
population, based on Figure 4.

Final stand
plants/acre)
Expected
yield (%)
44,000 100
41,000 100
38,000 100
35,000 100
32,000 100
29,000 99
26,000 96
23,000 92
20,000 87
17,000 81

Table 2. Seeding rates (seeds/acre) to get within $1.00/acre of maximum net return, based on Figure 4. Seeding rates are 5% above targeting final population to account for early season stand losses.

Seed cost Corn price ($/bushel)
($/bag) 4.00 6.00 8.00
225 30,700 – 33,700 32,100 – 34,400 32,700 – 34,700
275 30,100 – 32,900 31,700 – 34,000 32,400 – 34,400
325 29,400 – 32,300 31,200 – 33,500 32,100 – 34,100
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