For the second installment of our "Ask Hayden" series, he responds to a reader who inquired about corn population recommendations.
Hayden believes there are two points to consider. The first is a realistic expectation of yield from each field. While it is nice to dream about 200 plus bushel corn in April, reality usually shatters this dream by October in the St Marys area. On our beautiful uniform silt loams soils, 200 bu is a reasonable target. Anything less is a disappointment. However, most of us do not have the luxury of farming this soil type. On fields that have a high percentage of heavy clay or gravel, 160 bu is a success. With this in mind consider the chart below.
High yield potential supports the use of higher seeding rates. On those wonderful silt loam soils the sky is the limit. Where yield potential is lower, planting 37-40,000 seeds is great for Hayden's grandpa the seed dealer, but not that great for the farmer.
The second point to consider after a realistic expectation of yield, is which hybrid are you planting.
This is a graph of population response for P9910XR.
And a graph of P0216HR.
In 150-200 bu environments the two hybrids have a similar response with the optimum planting rate being 32,500 seeds per acre.
In high yield environments the response is dramatically different. 36,000 seeds per acre gets the job done with P0216HR and P9910XR can stand populations over 40,000.
A different response is seen when you plug in P0118AM. In those 150-200 bu environments, 28,100 seeds per acre is the optimum rate for P0118AM.
These graphs can be found on the Pioneer Planting Rate Estimator web page.
PS. Dean Shantz, Pioneer Account Manager reminds Hayden that for iPhone users there is an app for the Planting Rate Estimator, available in the App Store.