Uniform corn stands are desirable. Yet, farmers and researchers both have wondered just how important it is that the distance between plants be the same from one place to the next.
New findings suggest uniform spacing actually isn't as important as some other factors, such as uniform timing of emergence and an adequate final population, says Kraig Roozeboom, Kansas State University Research and Extension agronomist.
"Stu Duncan, our northeast area crops and soils specialist, has been looking at corn plant populations and stand uniformity the past few years in both dryland and irrigated environments. His results indicate little yield reduction from non-uniform stands, so long as the final population is adequate," Roozeboom says.
Those results agree with work done by researchers elsewhere, who have concluded that non-uniform plant spacing has less influence on yields than do final plant population or seedlings that all emerge at about the same time.
"Producers should not become overly anxious about stand uniformity as long as the spacing between plants is within 2 to 3 inches of the desired distance and the final stand is not substantially lower than desired," Roozeboom says.