Every year, our high-population corn research reveals something new. In 2014, we garnered some excellent insights that will guide us in our 2015 research. If you’re also planning to shift to higher-population planting, follow these tips to make the most of your acres:
Plant early — Delayed planting results in bigger plants and requires a lower-population hybrid. The more delayed you become, adjust populations down accordingly.
Check soil drainage — Water-logged or poorly drained soils will be short of oxygen. When either oxygen or water is the limiting factor in corn production, a lower population is needed.
Choose the right hybrid — Stine is developing hybrids specifically suited for high-population planting. They are shorter than traditional hybrids and have leaves that grow upright to catch more sunlight. These hybrids also feature compact structures that produce outstanding roots and stalks, ensuring a sturdier plant, which in turn helps it thrive in higher populations.
Check for adequate nutrients — Medium to high levels of phosphorus and potassium with the appropriate amount of nitrogen and sulfur applied at the proper time is essential. Most of this needs to be applied during the growing season as a sidedress or over the top application and must include the sulfur.
Consider planting range — On highly productive soils, for example, plant in the 41,000 to 51,000 range, with the high end of the range restricted to the newest short hybrids.
Harvest early to maximize gains — Getting the crop out in a timely fashion will help minimize weather-related harvest issues.
Assuming optimum weather and field conditions, we expect following these protocols will result in yield gains, including an increase of three to nine percent by making the switch to narrow rows with a more equal planting distance. Additionally, selecting the right hybrid for your field — and with the right genetics for high-density planting — could mean a five to 12 percent yield increase. And ensuring your soil has the proper nutrients, as well as timely nitrogen applications, may result in a 10 to 20 percent yield boost.
At Stine, we believe that high-density corn production will lead the way to consistently averaging 300 bushels per acre or more year after year. Contact your local Stine Seed dealer or agronomist to get started on your yield of dreams.