Current Corn Population Data  11/02/16 1:28:55 PM

Current Corn Population Data—2016 Edition

 

Corn Population Trials—WBI in cooperation with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has conducted a series of corn population trials for the past 6 years. This is done in-part with the Nebraska On-Farm Research Network. Information regarding this study as well as additional on-farm research projects and results can be found at http://cropwatch.unl.edu/farmresearch.

REVIEW— Since the first single and double crosses were made back in the 1920’s and 1930’s, this discussion has annually raged on about this time of year in coffee shops, seed offices, and corporate America for decades. What is the RIGHT corn population? The concerns have not changed much over time. What does it cost? Will it pay? SO, a few years ago we began our swing in an attempt to provide some local flavor to this ongoing debate.

We realize that there is a bit of a gamble in the added costs in planting a higher corn population—it’s a part of this overall bet we make every spring when dropping the planter into the ground. We would encourage you to consider higher fertility, insecticides, fungicides, etc., when entertaining higher planting rates. All are agronomically needed. But, they all add to your overhead cost. Does it make you more money? Remember there are agronomic reasons and economic reasons in crop production. We have to raise it before we can market it, but, also be wary of production costs—Where production economics/agronomics mesh is the sweet spot we seek to help make us successful.

We began this on-going study in 2009 looking at basic differences in yield between 24, 26, 28 and 30,000 seeds/acre. We found that populations consistently increased with every population increase up to 30,000 seeds/acre. 30,000 seeds/acre increased yield by 14 Bu./Acre when compared to the 24,000 seeds/acre rate during the 3 year study. SO, in 2013 we went a little further with this idea—we upped the lowest population of 28,000 seeds/acre, while increasing the highest population to 40,000 seeds/acre. We also included 32,000 and 36,000 rates as well. We are in constant search for the “right” population. This is forever a moving target with current day genetics. However, as breeding and research continue to unlock genetic potential, yield possibilities have continued to increase with the higher planting rates.

 

a)      The following is the results we have found for 2013.

Planted 04/06/2013 at 12-1:30 p.m.—2” Deep—JD 1790 Planter with 5 gal of 10-34-0 in the furrow,---180 lbs of N, 50 lbs P, 10 lbs S, 2 lbs Zn. 14 oz of Quilt Applied on 6/28/2013

3.4 oz of Capture LFR applied in-furrow--Soil Temperature was 40 Degrees at 4"

     

Harvested 9/23/2013

           

DeKalb DKC64-69 was planted at 28, 32, 36, and 40,000 Seeds/Acre respectively. 6 blocks of a paired comparisons—8 rows each—1750 feet long

182 lbs of 11-52-0 and 0.4 lbs Zn applied on 09/06/2012, 163 lbs pf 32% N with 2.0 Qt of Degree Xtra applied on 4/06/2013, 53 lbs of 32% N sidedressed applied on 6/10/2013, Sprayed with Quilt Xcel at 12 oz/acre at VT—applied on 4/01/2013

                           

Population

Average yields

                   

Seeds/Acre Planted

Bushels/Acre @ 15% Moisture

               
                           

28,000

 

259.05

                     

32,000

 

261.72

                     

36,000

 

268.15

                     

40,000

 

281.97

                     

This was a sub-irrigated piece along the Missouri river levee North of Peru Nebraska. The average of 108.2 acre piece was 258.19 bushels/acre. Undoubtedly the sub-irrigation has impact on that degree of yield level. 40,000?? We picked this high population just to see if we could get the hybrids to level off in production. They did not. Genetic potential/performance was obviously there with this hybrid/environment. Soil fertility rates were static between all of the populations. There always is the return on the investment (ROI) portion of the discussion. For a $12.50 investment in the additional 4,000 seeds per acre—where did it pay?? All other input costs are fixed—Back in 2013 we could sell the corn for $4/Bushel for this discussion.

2013 Yield/Dollar Difference per Population

 

Population

Seeds/Acre

Yield

Sell @ $4/bu

Seed Cost/Acre

Net/Acre

28000

259.05

$1036.20

 

$87.50

$948.70

32000

261.72

$1046.88

 

$100.00

$946.88

36000

268.15

$1072.60

 

$112.50

$960.10

40000

281.97

$1127.88

 

$125.00

$1002.88

           
     

4,000 SEEDS/ACRE INVESTMENT = $12.50/ACRE

 
     

COST PER BAG OF CORN AT $250.00/UNIT

 

For 2014, this again was a sub-irrigated piece along the Missouri river levee North of Peru Nebraska. Mother nature smiled on this piece as the results we obtained are phenomenal given, that by rights; we are a little light on fertility for the bushels achieved. For 2014 we will sell the corn for $3.50/bushel as this is closer to the current average.

Planted 04/01/2014 .—2” Deep—JD 1790 Planter with 5 gal of Optistart Pro--9-18-6-2Sulfur 0.5 Zn-0.05 MNw Avail

3.4 oz of Capture LFR + 3.0 oz of Headline EC—Soil Temp was 35 Degrees at 4”

DKC67-57 was planted at 28, 32, 36, and 40,000 respectively. 6 blocks of a paired comparison—8 rows each—1750 feet long

112 lbs of 11-52-0 and 0.4 lbs Zn on 11/1/2013, 163 lbs of 32% N with 2.0 Qt of Degree Xtra on 4/14/2014, 53 lbs of 32% N side dressed on 5/21/2014 Sprayed with Quilt Xcel at 12 oz/acre at VT—6/27/2014

 

Harvested Tuesday October 28th 2014

   
           

Population

Average yields

   

Seeds/Acre Planted

Bushels/Acre @ 15% Moisture

           

28,000

 

309.35

     

32,000

 

322.48

     

36,000

 

320.93

     

40,000

 

321.58

     
             

 

2014 Yield/Dollar Difference per Population

 

 

Population

Seeds/Acre

Yield

Sell @ $3.50/bu

Seed Cost/Acre

Net/Acre

 

28000

309.35

$1082.73

 

$87.50

$995.23

 

32000

322.48

$1128.68

 

$100.00

$1028.68

 

36000

320.93

$1123.25

 

$112.50

$1010.75

 

40000

321.58

$1125.53

 

$125.00

$1000.53

 

           

 

     

4,000 SEEDS/ACRE INVESTMENT = $12.50/ACRE

 

 

     

COST PER BAG OF CORN AT $250.00/UNIT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Planted 04/11/2015 .—2” Deep—JD 1790 Planter with 5 gal of Optistart Pro--9-18-6-2Sulfur 0.5 Zn-0.05 MNw Avail

3.4 oz of Capture LFR + 3.6 oz of Xanthion—Soil Temp was 37 Degrees at 4”

DKC67-57 was planted at 28, 32, 36, and 40,000 respectively. 6 blocks of a paired comparison—8 rows each—1500 feet long

190 lbs of 11-52-0 and 0.4 lbs Zn on 11/3/2014, 31.25 lbs of 32% N with 13 oz of Authority MTZ on 11/18/2014, 100 lbs of 32% N side dressed on 6/04/2015 Sprayed with Quilt Xcel at 10.5 oz/acre at VT—7/01/2015

 

Harvested Tuesday September 27th 2015

   
           

Population

Average yields

   

Seeds/Acre Planted

Bushels/Acre @ 15% Moisture

           

28,000

 

239.12

     

32,000

 

232.66

     

36,000

 

231.66

     

40,000

 

246.25

     
             
                         

 


2015 Yield/Dollar Difference per Population

 

Population

Seeds/Acre

Yield

Sell @ $3.00/bu

Seed Cost/Acre

Net/Acre

28000

239.12

$717.36

 

$87.50

$629.86

32000

232.66

$697.98

 

$100.00

$597.98

36000

231.66

$694.98

 

$112.50

$582.48

40000

246.25

$738.75

 

$125.00

$613.75

           
     

4,000 SEEDS/ACRE INVESTMENT = $12.50/ACRE

 
     

COST PER BAG OF CORN AT $250.00/UNIT

 

 

 

 

Planted 04/11/2016 .—2” Deep—JD 1790 Planter with 5 gal of Optistart Pro--9-18-6-2Sulfur 0.5 Zn-0.05 MNw Avail   
3.4 oz of Capture LFR + 3.6 oz of Xanthion—Soil Temp was 40 Degrees at 4”  
DeKalb DKC61-79 was planted at 28, 32, 36, and 40,000 respectively. 6 blocks of a paired comparison—8 rows each—1011 feet long  
175 lbs of 82% NH4 and 0.4 lbs Zn in November 2015, 237.9 lbs of 11-52-0, 74.96 lbs of 00-00-60, 3.25 lbs of Zinc Sulfate and 17.94 lbs of 90% sulfr with 13 oz of Authority MTZ on 11/18/2015,  Sprayed with Quilt Xcel at 10.5 oz/acre at VT—7/13/2016    
Harvested Tuesday October 5th 2016      
                           
                           
                   
2016 Yield/Dollar Difference per Population                 
Population Yield Sell @ $3.00/bu Seed Cost/Acre Net/Acre                
Seeds/Acre                 
28000 260.48 $781.44   $89.26 $692.18                
32000 267.55 $802.65   $101.76 $700.89                
36000 268.15 $804.45   $114.48 $689.97                
40000 255.16 $767.58   $127.20 $640.38                
                           
      4,000 SEEDS/ACRE INVESTMENT = $12.72/ACRE                   
      COST PER BAG OF CORN AT $254.40/UNIT                  

 

REMEMBER—Agronomics is one thing. We can do many things to enhance yield. Population is a sizable platform in which yield potential is built around. YOU must also pay attention to the other factors it requires to support these populations and also be willing to invest in it on an annual basis in order to achieve your maximum yield. Making this pay is always dependent on the commodity market. BUT, corn breeding continues to progress and it appears that you can get by with a higher population with moderate adjustments with subsequent fertility needs to maximize yield while management additional production costs. The corn plant is getting more efficient with fertility utilization.

 

This is another chapter in this story and the debate will continue to rage on. Our suggestion is this. High 20 to low 30,000 populations is where much of the performance and economics mesh to give you some of the higher returns on your investment. If that is TOO HIGH for your taste, consider this. Corn Hybrids today, regardless of brand, maturity, trait mix, etc., continue to thrive in higher populations. If you have planted 28,000 seeds/acre for your entire farming career, try one or two settings higher on your planter. This is normally an additional 800-1000 seeds/acre/settings. Run strips, split planters, etc. to get your feel for what the increased population can offer you on your ground with your management.

 

John W. McNamara

Agronomist

Wiles Bros. Inc.

606 Wiles Road

Plattsmouth NE. 68048

(402) 298-8550--Office

(402) 499-3870--Cell

(402) 298-7174--Fax

 

 
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