I get it, you’ve been waiting all season, suffering through what feels like an endless winter and you’re ready to get that corn in the ground. But remember that good things come to those who wait. In order to give the seed the best start and stand possible, precision and expertise are the keys. There are enough variables that you won’t be able to control in the upcoming season so anything you can do to level that playing field now will work to your advantage come harvest.
Lately we’ve been sharing findings from our 13 years of Ole & Sven plot data to help you get a leg up on planting this year. Today we’re going to talk about what we’ve learned about ideal planting speeds for corn. If you’re just tuning in you may want to also check out my recommendations for increasing your corn populations and determining the best date to plant your corn.
I’ve been there. You’re eager to get that seed in the ground and, in the grand scheme of things, what’s a few extra mph anyway? Here’s the thing: seed tubes on our planters are designed for speeds up to 5mph. Going faster than that increases the chance of the seed skipping down the seed trench, leading to skips and doubles, and ultimately yield loss. I know it’s tempting but keep speeds under 5mph unless you’re using a new high-speed planter with hydraulic down pressure to minimize row bounce.
In my thirteen years of Peterson Farms Seed’s Ole & Sven research trials, we have shown a 9.3 bushel advantage when planting at speeds under 5 mph. That’s like literally getting paid just to slow down. If that’s not enough to make you think twice about going too fast, I don’t know what is.
The reason we see such an impact on yield is that planting speed is the single most important thing you can control to ensure a good stand. And it is frequently overlooked. The planter needs to singulate correctly and minimize seed bounce when it hits the soil – and it needs to be moving slowly in order to do that.
When it comes to planting corn, or any crop for that matter, take your time. You only get one chance each year so do it right. And make it count.
Stay tuned for ongoing lessons from our Ole & Sven test plots over the coming weeks. If you’ve got questions about planting speeds or what products would be a good fit on your farm, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at (866) 481-7333.