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Multi Year Study Will Show Highest Avg. Yield From 2.5 Inch Depth

Southern, IL Planting Depth Study is designed to evaluate various planting depths of corn. Ten planting depths were chosen ranging from 0.5 to 2.75 inches.

With the numerous rains during the spring planting season, a few farmers in our area were considering decreasing their planting depth in an effort to plant in better seedbed conditions and in a timely manner. A local seed advisor brought this to our attention and inquired about planting a study to show differences in planting depth.

In an effort to show effects of shallow planting, we planted a depth as shallow as 0.5 in. Our planter is set up with a Yetter spike and rubber closing wheel combination. Approximately 30%-40% of the seeds planted at the 0.5 in. and 0.75 in. depths were picked out of the seed trench by the spike closing wheels, resulting in poor stands and lower yields. Good seed placement started at 1.5 in. and continued through 2.75 in. With soil conditions being dry, we worked this plot more than we usually would have to promote soil crusting from a rain event.

Within 72 hours of planting, we received 1.4 in. of rain. When the soil crusted, emergence across the entire study still occurred within a 24 hour time period. This could be due to the depths from 2 in. to 2.75 in. having adequate moisture at planting to help with quicker germination. As the season progressed, the stalk diameter and root mass of the deeper planted corn was noticeably better.

When drier conditions occurred later in the summer, the deeper planted corn showed less environmental stress, which was evident by less visible rolling of corn leaves. With all depths 1 inch and deeper showing yields above 200 Bu./A., the highest average yield came from the 2.5 in. depth.

Planting depth is one of the variables that a farmer can control and maybe should consider placing more emphasis on. With every growing season being different, multi-year data is a goal that we are working to accomplish with this study.

Beck's Hybrids PFR program conducts more than 75 different studies across multiple locations (500+ acres) to learn how different management practices and new technologies perform in field environments. Simply put, it is research focused with the farmer in mind. To see the entire study, please download the PFR Book and see page 251.

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