Corn Plant Population Research
DuPont Pioneer Research
- DuPont Pioneer has been conducting plant population studies with corn hybrids for over 3 decades.
- Pioneer has conducted plant population research at over 320 locations throughout the U.S. and Canada in the last 6 years (Figure 1).
- For more information see: Corn Plant Population Research - Water-Limited Sites.
Figure 1. DuPont Pioneer plant population test locations in North America, 2011-2016.
- DuPont Pioneer researchers target representative environments based on maturity zone, expected yield (high or low), specific stresses, and other unique location characteristics. Research trials are all conducted in 30-inch rows.
- Additionally, hundreds of on-farm Pioneer® GrowingPoint® agronomy seeding rate trials are conducted each year comparing multiple corn products at up to 4 seeding rates at each location (Figure 2).
Figure 2. Pioneer GrowingPoint agronomy on-farm seeding rate trials at 974 locations in North America in 2016.
- Growers can use the multi-year and multi-location results to identify the best potential planting rates specific to their hybrid, location, and management practices.
Optimum Seeding Rate by Yield Level
- Like previous Pioneer studies, the 2009 to 2016 trials across the U.S. and Canada show that corn hybrid response to plant population varies by yield level (Figure 3).
- The seeding rate required to maximize yield increases as yield level increases.
- The economic optimum seeding rate varies from about 30,000 seeds/acre for locations yielding 150 bu/acre to over 37,000 seeds/acre for yields of 240 bu/acre.
Figure 3. Corn yield response to population and optimum economic seeding rate by location yield level, 2009-2016.
Averaged across all hybrids tested. Economic optimums based on a corn rain price of $3.50/bu and a seed cost of $3.00 per 1,000 seeds; assumes % overplant to achieve target population.
Optimum Seeding Rate by Hybrid Maturity
- Previous research has shown that early maturity hybrids (< 100 CRM) may require higher populations to maximize yield. Although this trend can still be detected when examining the response curves closely, it is a smaller difference than in the past (Figure 4).
Figure 4. Yield response to plant population for corn hybrids from 5 maturity (CRM) ranges, 2009 to 2016.
(Averaged across all hybrids tested.)
Planting Rate Estimator
- The DuPont Pioneer Planting Rate Estimator, available on www.pioneer.com and as a free mobile app, allows users to generate estimated optimum seeding rates for Pioneer® brand corn products based on data from Pioneer research and Pioneer® GrowingPoint® agronomy trials.
Planting Rate Estimator Features
- The Planting Rate Estimator has the ability to display population response curves for a wide range of yield levels, which can provide guidelines for creating variable rate seeding prescriptions.
- It is possible to display plant population response curves at 10 bu/acre increments for all yield levels where there was a statistically significant response based on the available research data.
- The yield levels available for display will vary among hybrids based on the available research data.
- The Planting Rate Estimator provides flexibility in customizing the graph display.
- Users can display up to 3 response curves based on any combination of hybrids, yield levels, grain prices, and seed costs.
- Users also have the option of selecting a “Water-Limited Sites” version of the planting rate estimator, which includes data from studies conducted in drought environments in the western U.S.
For the above chart:
- View plant population responses from either standard or water-limited research sites.
- Select and compare plant population responses based on hybrid, yield level, corn grain price, and seed cost.
- Graph shows up to 3 plant population response curves with economic optimum seeding rates based on the criteria selected above. Results are displayed as net income/acre.
- Tabular display of net income/acre at several seeding rates based on the criteria selected above and economic optimum seeding rates. Years of testing and number of testing locations for selected hybrid(s) shown below the table.
Go to Planting Rate Estimator
Note: Growers should use the Planting Rate Estimator as an initial guide and work with your Pioneer sales professional for refinements based on local observations and on-farm trials.
For More Information: Corn Plant Population Research - Water-Limited Sites
Authors: Mark Jeschke and Gaurav Bhalla