Friday, March 27, 2015

What are the Factors that Help to Determine Corn Planting Populations?


Many would like to think that only one factor such as "upright" leaf structure determines the planting population of a corn hybrid, but it really is not that easy.  The "upright" leaf structure is but only one factor that 'may' affect a plant population response.  There are many genetic and environmental factors that can determine the optimum corn planting rate such as planting date, hybrid maturity, interception of light, amount of flex of the ear, soil productivity, weather, and many other agronomic characteristics (roots/stalks -genetics ex. water and nutrient uptake).

Why would you test or measure any or all of these factors individually? You need to test for the plant population response itself! - Jim Hughes, Hughes Seed

Burrus puts much effort in matching plant populations to specific corn hybrids in order to maximize benefits for our customers.  The subtle genetic variations that give rise to different hybrids affect how those hybrids respond to the soil type, maturity zone, and the stress load.  Our goal is to give you recommendations that will maximize your yield and allow you to take maximum advantage of your local grain market.   

We base our corn planting rate recommendations from data we generate in our research plots.  We conduct planting rate testing in different yield environments and maturity zones to determine what planting rate for a given hybrid results in the highest yield without sacrificing plant standability.  Since the weather has a huge impact on yield and standability, and because weather conditions can vary drastically from year to year, we base our recommendations from multiple years of data.  Using this approach, we believe that our planting rate recommendations provide you with the best chance of maximizing yield, and therefore profit, in any given year. - Chip Turner, Burrus Research Technician

The recommended planting rates for the Burrus hybrid seed corn can be found in the chart in the blog: Burrus Recommended Corn and Soybean Plant Populations

Check out the latest Burrus Agronomy U: Seeding Rate and Hybrid Type - Dr. Matt Montgomery, Burrus Sales Agronomist

Variable Rate Planting Your Corn: Burrus and MyFarms Can Bring Yield to Your Farm


Clayton Cook, Burrus Account Manager, covers an area in Northwestern Illinois as well as Southeastern Iowa.  Recently, he was helping a Burrus customer import his upcoming 2015 planting plans as well as building his corn planting population prescriptions within MyFarms℠.  MyFarms provides tools that help Burrus farmers manage their data and insight to drive better decisions in each field.  It was created to make it safe and easy for Burrus family farms and their advisors to increase yield by embracing Data-Driven Farming practices such as site-specific hybrid placement and planting rates.  


Jerad Ropp, Burrus Precision Farming consultant, was also able available for this meeting by conference call and ran some yield data comparisons from the 2014 growing season.  This Burrus customer had done some plant population testing last year with the corn hybrid, Power Plus® 4G46™*.  Power Plus® 4G46™* was variable rate planted from 30,400 to 35,700 plants per acre within soil types that had yield ratings from 147-127-0 (No Rating).  There were two check strips that were 16 rows wide and 2,000 feet long.  One of the test strips was locked in at 32,000 and the other at 36,000 plants per acre.  The yield results for the variable planted as well as the test strips with fixed planting populations were as follows:

Pass 1 Variable Rate avg. yield            – 211 bu/a
Check 1 36,000 fixed pop. avg. yield  – 202 bu/a
Check 2 32,000 fixed pop. avg. yield  – 208 bu/a
Pass 4 Variable Rate avg. yield            – 216 bu/a

Whole field average for Power Plus® 4G46™* – 212 bu/a

What was really interesting was that there were two different soil types in this particular field that were rated almost identical, but this grower had come to realize that one of these soil types had historically yielded much better than the other in past growing seasons.  MyFarms allowed this grower to manually adjust his corn plant populations in 2014 according to his definition of what was the higher or lower productive soil types of this field.  

Jerad was able to run the average yield by this high or low soil type and found the more productive soil type, which was planted at a higher population (35,700), had an average yield of 217 bu/acre.  The average yield on the other soil type, labeled as lower productivity, planted at the lower population (34,000), was 209 bu/acre.  The plant population separation was 1,700 plants per acre.  This data is very interesting, especially when considering the consistent and good growing conditions of 2014

This Burrus grower was able to utilize the Data-Driver Farming System® MyFarms to combine proprietary product knowledge along with his own knowledge to manage and improve his crop production.  This Burrus grower plans to implement a similar plan in 2015, with check strips built into his corn population prescriptions, within 3 different fields.  He is very pleased with the MyFarms system and its performance.