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Achieve Optimum Planting Depth This Spring

When it comes to planting corn, how deep is deep enough and how shallow is too shallow? In a planting depth demonstration, DuPont Pioneer agronomy researchers evaluated how corn development is affected when planted at different depths. The results confirmed optimal planting depth in the Midwest is typically 1 ½ inches to 2 inches.

There are a number of reasons why growers may find varying planting depths within a single cornfield. These include planting at too high of speed, planting into heavy residue and planting in less than optimum soil conditions.

Corn planted too shallow may result in:

  • Decreased ability to uptake water and nutrients through the roots
  • Potential to develop “rootless corn syndrome” – causing plants to fall over due to the lack of nodal root development in dry soil
  • Increased potential for herbicide injury due to exposure of corn seedlings to herbicide residues

To achieve optimum planting depth this spring, consider the following planting depth recommendations:

  • Set the planting depth in the field, with the planter being pulled at full operating speed
  • Check for good seed-soil contact
  • Slower planting speeds achieve more uniform planting depths
  • Utilize in-row residue management equipment when needed
  • Utilize in-furrow seed depth control devices


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Ears of Corn Per Plant

Video: Ears of Corn Per Plant

Farm Basics from Ag PhD Episode #1294 | Air Date 01/22/23 - Brian and Darren talk about why corn plants usually have only one ear, instead of multiple ears per plant.