Rabobank: Increasing Plant Density Will Be Dependant on Economics
By Amanda Brodhagen, Farms.com
It’s something that growers are constantly trying to achieve – increased plant yields. According to a new report released by Rabobank entitled “Crowding the Fields”, the key to success will be increasing plant population density, especially in relation to U.S corn production.
This increased density will be a factor largely dependant of the economic factors of farmers, which Rabobank suggests will be difficult over the next two years due to higher input costs and drought conditioned soil.
“Corn Yield growth in U.S. is reaching a key milestone as the trend of increasing plant population per acre is challenged by limitations of the current production processes,” said Sterling Liddell, Vice President with the Rabobank Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory group.
The report outlines some of the major factors that can limit achieving a dense plant population including: not utilizing precision planting equipment, fertilization practices – which can lead to uniform plant growth, and not having enough spacing for root systems to develop. Despite these challenges, they are all obstacles that can be overcome in the long term.
“Changes in production methods take place gradually,” says Liddell. “As these changes are being implemented, growers continue to be keenly aware of increasing input costs and land values, making each decision more and more critical to maintaining a profitable operation.”
The report also notes a shift in choice of fertilizers – with a shift towards spring nitrogen application. There will also likely be an increase in popularity towards nitrogen extenders, as farmers seek out ways to make nutrients more available throughout the entire growing season.
With the pressures put on agriculture to increase yield growth over the next 10 years, optimizing production pressures will need to play a pivotal role growing in denser conditions.