Corn School: The power of proper seed singulation

The better the job done at planting the better the yield potential of a corn crop. That much we know, but when planting into less-than-ideal conditions, like the spring of 2020, environmental factors can really wreak havoc on your end yield potential. Luckily, paying attention to seed singulation at planting time can help.

“There’s no denying we had our share of environmental factors that caused some poor emergence this year,” says Matt Chapple, market agronomist with Pride Seeds. “One of the things we wanted to do is replicate and put some hard numbers to the value of singulation.”

Examples of hybrid response to good and bad singulation are shown in the video, story continues below.

With bad singulation, the cobs are much more variable — there’s more tip-back and less consistency in cob size and girth. How does this happen? Well, it’s possible seeds got stacked on each other at planting causing competition.

The solution could be taking those extra few minutes earlier in the year to dial in the planter, get metres working right, and planting at a good speed. Soil condition is also key — soil moisture and residue management can really affect seed placement. Being able to control singulation can alleviate some of those environmental conditions.

A gap in the plant stand caused by poor singulation can cause as much as a 20 per cent yield decrease, says Chapple. Getting the singulation right and from day one starting the crop off on the right foot means staying ahead of the environmental factors.

Related: Late emerging corn struggles against earlier plants

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