Seeding rates critical in rainfed corn |

Seeding rates critical in rainfed corn

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. – Seeding rate is more critical in dryland than in irrigated corn because sometimes rain and water in the soil profile isn’t adequate for the crop, said a University of Nebraska-Lincoln specialist.

“In rainfed corn, you’re trying to figure out what the weather’s going to do,” said Bob Klein of North Platte cropping systems specialist at the West Central Research and Extension Center.

In western Nebraska, based on many years of corn crops, researchers have determined that 12,500 harvest population has yielded the best, Klein said.

“That would mean seeding about 13,500 to 14,000, depending on how early you’re planting,” he said. “By averaging a number of things, we can make more finely-tuned estimates, though.”

A NebGuide entitled “Recommended Seeding Rates and Hybrid Selection for Rainfed Corn in Nebraska – that’s G1528 – lists some of those details.

The guide takes into account the amount and kind of crop residue remaining at planting time and the soil water. Wheat residue will perform differently than corn, milo or soybean residue. The presence of two feet, or four feet, or six feet of water in the soil makes a great deal of difference to the number of plants that land can sustain for optimum yield.

“If we have real good residue and a lot of soil water, we do increase the seeding rate,” Klein said.

For more details on corn seeding rates for dryland corn, look for NebGuide G1528 on the Web at

what=publicationD&publicationId=118 or at your local extension office.