One year ago Indiana Prairie Farmer, Precision Planting, the Tippecanoe County Extension Service, courtesy of Jeff Phillips, Extension ag educator there, and Throckmorton Research Center, part of the Purdue University farms system, cooperated on a corn planting trial. The word is that an encore performance is now a goal. Precision Planting will help fund a second go around of that trial.
"We saw last year that it was best to plant two to three inches deep, use medium downforce, and plant up to six miles per hour. You still saw better stands at slower speeds, although it didn't show up in yield," says Dave Nanda, a consultant who helped with planning and evaluating the plot and date in '10. Nanda is director of genetics and technology for Seed Consultants, Inc., Washington Courthouse, Ohio.
However, the caveat is that was one test at one point in time. Last year, due to weather delays, it was planted the last week of May. The entire plot still average more than 190 bushels per acre, but the data really only applies to those conditions.
Since no interactions between speed, force and depth were detected a year ago, this year the trial will actually be split into three mini-trials, each replicated four times in small plots. Also, parameters will be expanded for two of the factors.
"We saw what happened at one inch, but we still had great results at three inches deep," Nanda says. "We need to go to four inches, knowing emergence might not be as good. But if we're going to do true research, we need to know where that break is. We need to know that if you go too deep there's a breaking point where germination and emergence will actually decrease.
"The same applies on planting speed," he says. "We still got good yields at six miles per hour, even though the stand was statically more erratic. But planting equipment is so good today that even at 6 miles per hour, it wasn't off enough to affect yield. We want to show what happens when we push the envelope, so we're going to 7 miles per hour to see if that make s a difference."
The biggest change is repeating the study twice. Weather permitting, the goal is to plant the first time yet this month, then plant again in late May. Last year's results may have been skewed because soils were warm at planting, Nanda concludes.