Impact of Planter Settings on Corn Yield

Trial Objective:

• To measure the impact of seed firmers and properly set row cleaners on corn yield potential.

• Previous work at the Monmouth Learning Center has illustrated the importance of proper planter settings and their impact on even emergence:

— The Value of Proper Planter Settings – 2017 Monmouth Learning Center Demonstration Report

— Click on the following link to view the Monmouth Learning Center video talking about planter settings recorded Spring of 2018.

• Choice of equipment can affect seed placement, seed-to-soil contact, and the quality of the seedbed. These factors can impact evenness of seedling emergence and stand establishment, ultimately impacting yield.

Research Site Details

• This was a repeat of a trial we conducted in 2017 on no-till, continuous corn. In 2018, the trial was located in a field with conventional tillage and in the second year of corn production.

• Treatments included:

— Properly-set row cleaners with seed firmers

— Properly-set row cleaners without seed firmers

— Improperly-set row cleaners (not enough pressure) with seed firmers

— Improperly-set row cleaners without seed firmers

• Each treatment had two replications. 

Understanding the Results

• When both seed firmers and row cleaners were used and set correctly, the two-year average yield was 287.6 bu/acre.

• With properly-set row cleaners and seed firmers, we achieved an average of an additional 13.8 bu/acre.

• Without seed firmers, the two-year average yield was 280.9 bu/acre, and with improperly-set row cleaners, the two-year average yield was 279.9 bu/acre.

• Without seed firmers and improperly-set row cleaners, the two-year average yield was 273.8 bu/acre.

What Does This Mean For Your Farm?

 • Accurate seed placement, good seed-to-soil contact, and a clean seedbed are important factors in enabling corn seedlings to establish quickly and begin growing vigorously.

• Seed firmers can help improve seed-to-soil contact, leading to better establishment, more even emergence, and potentially higher yields.

• Properly set row cleaners can also provide an environment that promotes even emergence which can have a positive impact on crop yield potential. 

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