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Help For Those Difficult Corn Replant Decisions

Help For Those Difficult Corn Replant Decisions
Many factors may determine your decision to replant corn damaged by imperfect conditions.

OK, so you took your chances and planted when conditions weren't perfect. Things didn't go your way and now you've got a stand you're not totally happy with – and each day it's getting later in the season. You're about done planting and could think about replanting. It's time to decide to live with it or tear it up and start over. Where do you turn?

The Purdue University Corn & Soybean Field Guide published by The Purdue Diagnostic Training Center might be a good place to start. You can check out the diagnostic center online or you can order the Guide directly if you don't have one from

Not a pretty stand: This isn't the stand you hoped for, but it will likely yield more than if you replant this week, even if you get a perfect stand on the second try.

Look for a chart near the front of the Guide that says 'Expected grain yield due to various planting dates and final plant populations.' Suppose you planted April 30, shooting for 32,000 plants per acre. You count plants in several locations in the field today and find the average population is 20,000 plants per acre.

According to the chart you can still expect about 92% of original yield potential. If that was 200 bushels per acre, then you still could reach 184 bushels per acre, assuming the stand is fairly evenly distributed and weeds aren't an issue.

If you replant this week, May 25, and obtain a final stand of 30,000 plants per acre, the chart suggests you still only can expect 87% of original yield potential. That would be 174 bushels per acre, or 10 bushels less than if you left the earlier stand. Obviously, it's a no-brainer – leave the stand, even if you don't like the looks of it. Besides, there is no guarantee you will achieve 30,000 plants per acre on your second try by replanting.

The hardest part may be looking at the field with the thin stand every day. But in most cases, it's best to put economics over looks and stay the course.

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