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Veteran Contributor

Planting thinner corn populations?


I visited with a farmer last week about how he is going to approach input shopping for 2016. One of the things he is thinking about is planting his corn a bit thinner than in the past.


In his area, he normally plants about 37,000 pppa, which is probably 2,000-3,000 or so above average for his area. He is thinking about skinnying down to 33,000, whichis about what his land-grant university recommends for that area.


Have any of you looked at this? I know soybean populations have taken a dive in recent years--all you need to max out yields is 100,000 plants per acre at harvest, but it seems like corn populations have been considerably rising.



Gil Gullickson

Crops Technology Editor 

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Re: Planting thinner corn populations?

I used to plant 36,000.  Last year and this year I'm at 33,000.


I'm trying to be at the sweet spot on the economic return curve.  Whereas before, I'd spend a little more to get a bigger yield, now I'm trying to get the best yield for the minimum input.  Just a little different way of looking at it, just like your farmer.


For 4-5 years, I've been planting 105-120k soybeans.  This year, I'm goign to split plant the beans.  I have a 30" planter and will plant the field at about 50-55K, then move the track 15" and plant it again.  I'll let you know how it works out.


I've looking for better late season weed control, is why I'm doing this.

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