April 28, 2016 | By: | Agronomy

To Minimize Yield Loss, Would You Adjust Planting Depth?

As we get back to planting corn after a cool, wet spell, have you thought about planting depth?

Ideal planting depth is 1½”–2” for corn, and 1–2” for soybeans. Last year farmers who tried to chase moisture by planting deeper got poor results.

The Ole & Sven research trials at Peterson Farms Seed have shown an 11 bushel decrease when the seed is planted at 3+”.

planting depth

Ole and Sven data over the past 10 years also shows a 45 Bu / A drop in yield at a planting depth of ¾” compared to 1.5”. Planting too shallow (under ¾”) can cost you the whole field if emergence is poor or if lodging occurs later in the season. If planted too shallow, the nodal roots can develop at the surface, which can lead to rootless corn syndrome.

Early in the season, I like to plant at depths of about 1.5” to 1.75”, as soil temperatures are a bit warmer at that level. Planting depth can be adjusted to 2” later in the season when soil temperatures reach 60°F.

As you’re waiting for planting conditions to improve, check the rows on your planter for depth. Just because the notches are the same in the back does not mean every row is planting at the same depth.

And while you’re planting this season, continue to check your seeding depth. Changes in the soil can vary the depth at which your planter is seeding.


Adam Spelhaug, Agronomy Lead CCA

Adam Spelhaug

As the agronomy manager, Adam Spelhaug works diligently to determine the best genetics for our region, bringing growers what they need in their fields. Adam has been making his mark on Peterson Farms Seed since 2005. When he’s not discovering genetic breakthroughs, Adam can be found spending time with his family, golfing or bowhunting. He’s a North Dakota State University alumnus, and he’s proud of it. Don’t take any UND green into his office.

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