“I believe many growers have room for improvement with plant spacing,” he says. “Corn is much more responsive to spacing than our other row crops.”

For dryland corn, he suggests 24,000 to 28,000 plants per acre, and for irrigated corn up to 34,000 plants per acre.

A major factor in stand variation, and thus crop performance, is often due to how the seed is planted, Larson says.

“I believe the most prevalent factor in non-uniform seed distribution is excessive planter speed. I like to keep planter speed well below 5 mph, and many top producers will not exceed 4 mph.”

Going faster than 5 mph can result in poorer seed spacing, less uniform depth, and more double seed drops, he notes.

“Most producers do a good job with seeding depth, but many times fail to properly calibrate their planters for seed size. I saw several instances last year of growers changing from one hybrid to another, but failing to recalibrate planters for the difference in seed size.”