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Plant Corn Seed Deeper in Dry Soils

Categories: PLANTING, CORN
​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Uniform emergence is one the most important factors in maximizing corn yields. In extremely wet or dry conditions, uniform emergence can be difficult, so it is worth considering using planting depth as a tool in dry soil conditions for an even uptake of available moisture, helping to drive equal emergence. In normal planting conditions, 1.5” to 2” planting depths would be optimal. For drier conditions however, going ¼” to ½” deeper is recommended.

The extra depth ensures the seed is planted into adequate soil moisture, ensuring it will gain at least 30% of its weight in water in order for germination to begin. Research has also shown that planting slightly deeper than 2 inches has been observed to promote uniform emergence in some cases. Consistent moisture is critical for getting corn to germinate and surface at the same time.

Proper planting depth in any soil condition is key to ensuring there is good seed to ground contact and sufficient moisture. Planting slightly deeper can reduce soil temperature fluctuations, leading to a healthier emerged seedling. Not only does planting depth impact nodal root development, but it also enhances proper overall root development later in the growing season, which reduces the risk of lodging.

It’s important to not only check planting depth throughout the field, but also early in the season to ensure a proper and consistent level is being maintained. If you’re not adjusting fields for each scenario, keep in mind both soil type and prior management practices can shallow up or deepen your actual planting depth. A quick, 5-minute check will go a long way toward helping corn emerge evenly, further maximizing yield potential.

Contact your Golden Harvest Seed Advisor with questions or for additional agronomic insights.

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