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Join the Row Challenge!

Last week we completed our 24-row planter challenge for the second straight year. New for this year, we did this challenge on the same planting pass that we did an emergence flag test in the spring to allow us to physically see our emergence and each flag color represented a different 12 hour period. It took 15 GDU from the first plants emergence to the last plants emergence. By doing this we could visually see the rows that had more even emergence. After all the plants had emerged and flags where placed we looked just outside of the flag test area on rows that seemed to have later or uneven emergence/skips. Looking underground we saw that residue was the biggest issue especially in corn on corn fields. More often than not if there looked to be a skip or possibly a seed that didn’t germinate we found it to be that there was a seed there and it did germinate but it ran into an obstruction (a piece of cob or stalk) and either had to grow around the residue causing the plant to emerge late and if the piece of residue was big enough the plant would grow horizontally and run out of steam and die or the plant would hit the residue and grow down at a 45 degree angle and run out of energy 4”-“6 down and die. Residue issues are nothing new in corn on corn situations, but we were able to see that last year’s residue was the main issue and rule out planter problems. Last year’s test was an eye opener for us at Hefty Seed in Princeton to see the variation from row to row across the planter. We also did this planter challenge for several of our customers, who saw similar results in variability as we did. After seeing the results, we took another look at our planter maintenance practices seeing if we could narrow down the variability for this year. Last year, we saw a 62 Bushel, or 27%, difference between our best and worst performing rows. For the 2020 growing season, the difference was 55 Bushel, or 22%, difference from the best to worst rows. At first look, this improvement seems underwhelming but at $3.50 per bushel corn pricing this comes out to $24.50 per acre of extra income! Feel free to contact any of our agronomy team members today to learn more about our results or for help with all your Agronomy needs! #heftyseedprinceton

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