Planting season has started in the Southern Hoegemeyer footprint and planters will be rolling across the Midwest soon. Let’s review proper plant seeding depth for corn. There are a few inputs such as foliar fungicides and insecticides which we still have at our disposal if the situation warrants. But for the most part we are at the mercy of Mother Nature in terms of temperature, rainfall and sunlight intensity which are key factors for yield. Prior to that however, there are several things that are very much in our control. Rapid establishment of a uniform crop is of utmost importance if you want to even have a shot at approaching full yield potential at the end of the year.
How deep should I plant corn?
Corn seed to be planted between 1.75 and 3 inches.
Does planting date influence how deep I should plant?
Although some people believe that early planting should be planted shallower so the seed gets in warmer soil this is not true. Even your earliest planted fields should be dropped at the same 1.75 to 3 inch planting depth. The only time we would plant deeper would be if we needed to find moisture to get the seed to germinate, but never shallower.
What are some of the detrimental effects of shallow planting?
As simple as it may sound, shallow planting depth with corn can lead to many significant problems. When seed is planted too shallow, fewer root nodes are able to establish beneath the soil which leads to a restricted and overall lesser root mass. Plants may emerge uneven; lodge later in the year; be more prone to nutrient deficiency symptoms early in the year; have reduced water uptake under drought; and be more prone to rootless corn syndrome if soils are dry early in the year. Anything less than 1.75 inches is typically not ideal for most soils.
How can I make sure I’m getting proper planting depth?
Make sure you get your planter out in the field a few days ahead of when you want to start planting. You will have time to make some last-minute tweaks to ensure the planter in properly set before getting into the field for the season. Also make sure to check the planter every few hours and especially when changing fields with varying soil types.
Any portion of yield potential lost early in the season is gone for good with little chance of recovery in full no matter how favorable the growing season is later in the year. Getting planting right is one of the most important things we can manage.
If you have questions, contact your local Hoegemeyer agronomist, district sales manager or dealer.