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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Columbia, Missouri » Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #353411

Research Project: Sustainable Intensification of Grain and Biomass Cropping Systems using a Landscape-Based GxExM Approach

Location: Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research

Title: Optimizing corn seeding depth by soil texture to achieve uniform stand

Author
item STEWART, S - University Of Missouri
item Kitchen, Newell
item YOST, M - Utah State University
item CONWAY, L - University Of Missouri

Submitted to: International Conference on Precision Agriculture Abstracts & Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/5/2018
Publication Date: 6/24/2018
Citation: Stewart, S.A., Kitchen, N.R., Yost, M.A., Conway, L.S. 2018. Optimizing corn seeding depth by soil texture to achieve uniform stand . 14th International Conference on Precision Agriculture, June 24-27, 2018, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Paper No. 5146.

Interpretive Summary: New planter technology available to farmers can allow for within-field on-the-go control of the depth of seed planting based on variable soil conditions. However, improved understanding of how corn emergence and establishment under variable soil conditions is needed in order to know how to optimize depth of seed placement for maximum productivity. This research was conducted to assess varying corn seeding depths on plant emergence uniformity and yield on fine- and coarse-textured soils. Initial results from the first year showed that corn emerged quicker at the shallowest depth (1.5 inches) on the coarser soil. However, planting depth did not influence final yield. However, corn yield and emergence in the fine-textured soil was influenced by planting depth. Planting seed at the 3-inch planting depth resulted in a 10 bu/acre yield increase over planting the seed at a 1.5-inch depth. Not surprisingly, corn emerged more evenly at the 3-inch depth. The study also found that all plants should emerge within 48 hours to maintain maximum yield potential. These results suggest that corn planted deeper in fine-textured soils improved emergence uniformity and yield potential. Planting depth may have little influence on corn yield in coarser-textured soils. These results indicate that variable seeding depth may be beneficial on fields with large variations in soil texture. The value of this research is that it will help guide farmers to know the soil conditions that warrant changing seeding depth within fields to improve crop stands and yield.

Technical Abstract: Corn (Zea mays L.) yield potential can be affected by uneven emergence. Corn emergence is influenced by both management and environmental conditions. Varying planting depth and rate as determined by soil characteristics could help improve emergence uniformity and grain yield. This study was conducted to assess varying corn seeding depths on plant emergence uniformity and yield on fine- and coarse-textured soils. Research was conducted on alluvial soil adjacent to the Missouri river with contrasting soil textures (fine sand and silty clay loam) in close proximity to each other. Treatments included four seeding depths (38 mm, 51 mm, 64 mm, and 76 mm), at three population rates (62000, 74000, and 86000 seeds per hectare), and no starter vs. starter fertilizer. Emergence uniformity and grain yield were measured within a portion of all plots. Initial results from the first year (2017) of the three year project showed that corn emerged quicker at the shallowest depth (38 mm) on the coarser soil. However, planting depth did not influence final yield. However corn yield and emergence in the fine-textured soil was influenced by planting depth. Planting seed at the 76 mm planting depth resulted in a 0.1 Mg/ha yield increase over planting the seed at the 38 mm depth. Not surprisingly, corn emerged more evenly at the 76 mm depth. Preliminary results suggest that corn planted deeper in fine-textured soils improved emergence uniformity and yield potential. Planting depth may have little influence on corn yield in coarser-textured soils. These results indicate that variable seeding depth may be beneficial on fields with large variations in soil texture.