Collaborating Producer: Koos & Barbara Bos, Peace River
Research Coordinator: Dr. Akim Omokanye
From: Peace Country Beef & Forage Association 2016 Annual Report
Plant population refers to the number of plants per acre; planting or seeding rate refers to the number of seeds planted per acre. Optimum plant population depends on factors such as hybrid, moisture stress level, soil fertility, and yield goal. In the Peace, for silage or grazing, the suggested seeding rate has been 30,000 kernels per acre for years and the recommendation is based on studies carried out elsewhere, outside of the Peace region. A few producers seed more than the 30,000 kernels/acre suggested seeding rate in the Peace. We are aware that more plants per acre should equal more ears/acre which should be beneficial for optimizing yield. On the other hand, kernel numbers per plant and weight per kernel eventually decrease with increasing plant populations. PCBFA conducted on-farm studies on seeding rates for 2 years to determine how corn yield responds to plant population.
The trial site was at Koos & Barbara Bos, near the Peace River Airport in 2015 and 2016. The site has had corn for some years, so no fertilizer was applied to the corn crop in both years.
Demonstration strip design was used in large plots. DuPont Pioneer 39F44 corn hybrid (Roundup Ready corn) with 2000 corn heat units (CHUs) requirement was seeded in 2015 and in 2016, we used DuPont Pioneer P7213.
We used a 12-row corn planter at 22” seed row spacing to seed. There were 4 treatments (seeded kernels per acre) consisting of approximately:
1) 38,000 kernels/acre
2) 36,000 kernels/acre