5. Plant on or near the old row. Producers should plant down the old row to place the seed in the old root zone, the most biologically active area of the field. Don’t seed between the old rows as some of the new rows will be in soft, untrafficked row middles with different soil conditions than the wheel tracks, the most compacted area in the field. Planting about 5 in. to the side of the old row works well for corn on corn to reduce planter bounce, resulting in more uniform depth control. This also reduces tire wear as compared to driving on the root stumps to plant between the old rows.

6. Planting deeper may be warranted in dry years. Producers should consider planting deeper to ensure that all of the seeds are in good soil moisture for uniform emergence. Keeton Seed Firmers or Schaffert Rebounders help place all of the seeds at the bottom of the seed-vee for a more uniform planting depth. Planting the seeds deeper also puts them into a more buffered soil environment with a more uniform soil temperature and soil moisture. This improves uniformity of emergence, which increases yields.

In addition, by planting deeper, the root system is better established, improving standability and allowing the plant to better handle stresses. Corn should be planted at least 2 in. deep as most corn planters were designed for planting depths of 2-3 in. Consider the 3-in. planting depth in dry years and low-residue conditions to reduce potential drying of the seed zone.

7. Ensure good seed-vee closure. The seed-vee should be properly closed for good seed-to-soil contact and to reduce drying out of the seed zone. Some producers add spoked closing wheels to their planters to help close the seed-vee, especially in wet soil conditions. The spoked wheels serve three purposes:

  • Drying the soil with tillage
  • Closing the seed-vee while fracturing the sidewall
  • Providing loose soil above the seed

The loose soil created by the spoked wheels reduces the potential for the seed-vee opening back up as the soil dries. However, depending on the moisture situation, the tillage of the closing wheels might dry out the soil too much. In some cases, growers get better results using one spoked wheel and one regular closing wheel. Also, some closing wheel brands have less aggressive spokes than others. A drag chain is usually needed behind aggressive spoked wheels to help smooth and level the soil.


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