Similar to modeled data in January 2012 ICM News, these modeled yields show that higher plant populations improve the chances for higher yields in high-yielding years (see figures linked in the endnote). In lower-yielding years, yields resulting from different plant populations are more similar; thus, seed costs associated with higher populations may not be offset by yield increases in lower yielding years when the soil is dry at planting. But the probabilities of greater returns from higher seeding rates in better years would seem to counterbalance those concerns.
We all know that many things can happen between now and planting. Normal seeding rate/ plant population recommendations are based on full soil profiles at planting (typical plant population responses). If 2013 soil moisture conditions do not improve, that is soils are dry at planting, be conservative on seeding rates changes. Although planting to achieve high plant populations is a good approach in most years, 2013 may be the year to not push seeding rates to higher levels especially in drought-prone soils. Meanwhile, as before, let’s hope for complete recharge of our soil in the weeks remaining before planting!
This article summarizes portions of a 2013 Crop Advantage Series talk presented in January 2013. Detailed summary graphics for each location modeled are available.