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6 Factors Help Deliver Accurate Seed Placement

Achieving photocopy plants and picket-fence stands starts with a focus on six agronomic drivers.

When you head to the field this spring, planter in tow, you’ve got a lot on your mind. But if you’re willing to shatter some long-standing assumptions, you can simplify your focus to a handful of agronomic factors. And that can go a long way toward achieving the fast, uniform emergence that produces picket-fence stands of photocopy plants and, ultimately, higher yields.

Depending on the type of seed and field conditions, some of these agronomic drivers can carry more or less weight. And, to be sure, achieving these goals hinges on several factors, from seedbed preparation to individual planter components to attention to detail. Case IH tillage equipment, Advanced Farming Systems (AFS) and Early Riser® planters and their unbeatable row units make meeting these agronomic objectives easier than ever:

Agronomic drivers for photocopy plants1

  1. Proper seed depth. Know what to check and how to properly adjust and set your planter.
  2. Uniform seed depth. Ensure consistency across the planter.
  3. Seed-to-soil contact. Helps ensure fast, uniform germination.
  4. Uniform and proper soil pressure. Ensure consistency around the seed.

Agronomic drivers for picket-fence stands1

  1. Accurate seed population. Make sure you’re planting the desired number of seeds, with no skips and no doubles.
  2. Accurate in-row seed spacing. Matching seed to metering components will help ensure consistent spacing.

How can these drivers pay off on your farm?

Achieving a picket-fence stand and photocopy plants starts with quick, uniform emergence, and that’s the ultimate measure of planting success. Consider university Extension research from across the Midwest. That work shows fields that get off to a fast, uniform start yield better. In their analysis, Iowa State University specialists found that when factors, including seeding depth and crop residue distribution, slowed germination and emergence for just 17 percent of corn plants, yields dropped by 4 percent to 8 percent — or 8 to 16 bushels per acre on 200-bushel-per-acre corn.2 Even with $3 corn, that’s $24 to $48 an acre, or as much as $7,600 across a quarter section, in lost revenue.

​Before fieldwork gets underway, evaluate soil conditions. Are your fields and equipment ready to place the seed in a uniform environment of temperature and moisture that encourages speedy germination and emergence? Does residue require additional management before you prepare the final seedbed? Is your planting equipment adjusted, set and ready to give your crop the best opportunity to achieve its full yield potential?

Keep these last-minute considerations in mind as your planting season gets underway. And remember: Your Case IH dealer stands ready to help with the products, service and expertise specific to your individual operation and management objectives.


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1Nielsen RL. Stand Establishment Variability in Corn. Purdue University Agronomy Department. https://www.agry.purdue.edu/ext/pubs/AGRY-91-01_v5.pdf. Revised November 2001. Accessed March 19, 2018.

2Abendroth L, Elmore R. What’s the yield effect of uneven corn heights? Iowa State University Agronomy Extension website​. https://crops.extension.iastate.edu/whats-yield-effect-uneven-corn-heights. Published 2006. Accessed March 19, 2018.

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