With corn planting for the 2011 season just around the corner, what growers do at this critical time can have a major impact on the crop’s performance, says Erick Larson.

“While early planting is often a significant factor in success with corn, growers who rush the process and don’t follow sound practices can end up costing themselves yield,” he said at the annual Delta Ag Expo at Cleveland, Miss.

“A uniform stand is paramount to achieving a successful corn crop,” Larson notes, “and can make a huge difference in yield. In 2010 Mississippi State University Corn Verification fields, we documented that uniform plant spacing produced over 44 bushels per acre higher grain yields, compared to uneven spacing.“This equates to nearly a 20 percent yield response, which far exceeds the impact of other inputs well known to affect corn productivity. Thus, we need to take extreme care during planting to achieve this potential.”

Because early spring rains often limit days available for work and growers are planting more corn acreage than in the past, he says there is pressure to get in the field early when fields are wet and soil temperatures are less than ideal.