Corn Seeding Rates: To Increase or Not to Increase

February 4, 2009 at 7:00 am

A few seed companies have been discussing with farmers the idea of increasing their corn seeding rates in 2009 from 30,000-32,000 seeds/acre to nearly 40,000 seeds/acre with the idea that this increase in seeding rate will maximize potential corn yield. In 2008, a research trial was conducted at Farm Focus to look at this very issue. This one year trial examined corn yield differences at two different seeding rates, 30,000 and 40,000 seeds/A, as well at the influence of nitrogen and foliar fungicide.

In a head-to-head comparison of 30,000 seeds/acre and 40,000 seeds/acre with equivalent inputs and OSU recommended nitrogen rates, the 30,000 seeds/acre seeding rate showed a statistically significant yield advantage as well as nearly a $70/acre increase in net revenue based on OSU crop budgets. In the same study we also looked at a comparison of 30,000 seeds/acre and 40,000 seeds/acre with a higher than recommended rate of nitrogen, so as to rule out nitrogen as a limiting factor for the higher seeding rate. Again, the 30,000 seeds/acre corn seeding rate showed a statistically significant yield advantage over the 40,000 seeds/acre seeding rate. In this high nitrogen rate comparison, the economic benefit of using the lower seeding rate provided a net revenue increase of over $80/A compared to the higher seeding rate.

This study at Farm Focus does have a few limitations. First, the data is from one-year only. Second, the planting date was May 23 and a May planting date may not react to increasing corn seeding rate as much as an April planting date.

This research study is available in its’ entirety here:  http://farmfocus.osu.edu/corn_max_input-08.pdf

Full podcast here:

EDIT 02/09/09

This study has generated a life of its’ own, and I need reinforce in this post some of the limitations of this study that are in the full reference above:

  • this data is from one year only
  • this corn study was planted May 23
  • this data comes from only one corn hybrid
  • budgets are based on generalized OSU crop budgets
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    This blog is no longer being maintained. Information on this blog may still be relevant, but for the latest agronomic information and farm management information please visit http://corn.osu.edu and http://ohioagmanager.osu.edu, respectively.

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