Do You Need To Boost Your Corn Seeding Rate?

Mar 25, 2014

Charles Wortmann
Extension Soils Specialist

Most Nebraska producers could increase corn yield by increasing seeding rate, according to research reported in UNL NebGuide G2216, Row Spacing and Seeding Rate for Corn in Nebraska.

"Current Nebraska research suggests that yield increases may be possible by increasing plant population at harvest beyond the USDA-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," it notes.

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, masters degree graduate student; Stephen Mason, professor of agronomy and horticulture; Mitchell Novacek, former masters degree graduate student; Charles Wortmann, Extension soils specialist; and Jennifer Rees, Extension educator.

Additional corn seeding rate research will be shared in the coming weeks.

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