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Time to evaluate plant stands

A row of corn emerges in Livingston County this week / CIFN photo.

TREMONT – With planting season winding down, now is the time to examine those newly-emerged plants out in the field.

Precision Planting utilizes a couple of different methods to evaluate corn plant stand and emergence for dealers and growers.

“Spacing and singulation are important pieces we definitely do want to look at but the thing we highlight very heavily is emergence,” explains Precision Planting’s Eric Huber.

The goal is trying to get every single plant to emerge simultaneously to neighboring plants. This means the amount of competition is reduced early on and later in the season when plants tend to compete for sunlight, water and nutrients.

A late emerged plant delayed by just one growth stage in development can have economic consequences at the end of the season.

“If it is at V2 and its neighbor is at V3 on either side, that plant is generally going to give up 30 to 50 percent of grain,” notes Huber.

The most impactful way to go out and evaluate emergence in a field is via the flag emergence study which entails tracking growing degree units. The first group of plants to come up should be flagged all in one color. Then 24 hours later, head back to the same field and use a different color flag to mark any new spikes coming through the ground. Growers should return a third time after another 24 hours has passed to drop in another color.

“We will track those (flags) through the season and at the end of the year, separate those ears out into piles then weigh those out to see what the impact is.”

Huber said it is very eye opening to see what a time delay in emergence can do to plants.

Another method to evaluate stand includes using the Precision Planting Pogo stick, which most dealers have. This enables growers to log emergence along with singulation and spacing with an iPad and tape measure.

“This gives us a way to go in and give a report card on how the planter did,” added Huber.

For a flagging kit to evaluate your fields, visit


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