The dust has settled from planting, and now it’s time to shift your focus to protecting the genetic potential of the crop throughout the growing season. The first step: evaluating emergence to determine how your stands compare to your planting population.
What is normal emergence?
Under normal conditions, you can expect to see about 95% of your planting population emerged and represented in the stand count. So, if you planted 36,000 seeds per acre, 34,200 would be an appropriate stand count. If planting conditions were less than ideal (i.e. cold or wet), you’ll likely see less than 95% stand. In this case, you’ll want to evaluate whether you have enough stand to meet your yield goals. Your AgriGold agronomist can help you work through this.
When to evaluate emergence
The best time to evaluate emergence is five to ten days after planting, depending on the weather conditions after planting and if you’ve accumulated enough GDU’s to reach emergence. Roughly 90 to 125 GDU’s are required for corn emergence; weather, soil conditions, and tillage types all can increase GDUs required for emergence.
Steps to evaluate emergence
All you’ll need is a tape measure and something to document your findings (like the notes app on your phone or a notepad). Start by measuring 1/1000th of an acre with your tape measure. For 30inch rows, 1/1000th of an acre is 17 ft 5 in. Check out the chart below for more measurements based on row spacing. Count the number of emerged plants in one row for the specified distance. Write down the number of established plants for each row.
Repeat this process in five to six random locations throughout the field. From these counts, we’ll calculate a field average.
To calculate a field average, add all the individual stand counts for each row, divide by the total number of stand counts collected, and multiply by 1,000 to get your field average population.
While you’re scouting..
Be sure to check for plants that didn’t come up, areas where two plants came up in the same spot, late emergence and unhealthy plants. Poor plant spacing, uniformity and plant health can be detrimental to overall yield potential. When a skip, late emerging or unhealthy plant is noticed, do some evaluation and digging to see if you can determine why it occurred.
Planter performance issues, poor soil conditions, stress from disease and insects or weather-related issues could all be potential factors that affected emergence. Diving deeper into these issues will provide a better understanding of the occurrence and what can be done in the future to mitigate it from happening again.
If you have any questions, reach out to your AgriGold agronomist for more information.