Five-Year Seed Singulation Study in Corn

Agronomic Research and Field Trial Tuesdays AGCO puts farmers first, and that means discovering ways to unlock yield potential while farming more efficiently and sustainably. AGCO’s Agronomy and Advanced Farm Solutions team is hard at work bringing the latest research from fields around the globe to the farmers who feed the world. Check back on Tuesdays for a new agronomic research study as the team explores different crops, equipment, pathogens, and growing practices.

June 1, 2021 by AGCO

Five-Year Seed Singulation Study in Corn

Agronomic Research and Field Trial Tuesdays AGCO puts farmers first, and that means discovering ways to unlock yield potential while farming more efficiently and sustainably. AGCO’s Agronomy and Advanced Farm Solutions team is hard at work bringing the latest research from fields around the globe to the farmers who feed the world. Check back on Tuesdays for a new agronomic research study as the team explores different crops, equipment, pathogens, and growing practices.

The primary focus of this study was to quantify the yield impact of poor seed singulation (percentage of skips and doubles) at planting.

The study was conducted from 2016 to 2020 on 22* different fields throughout the U.S. Midwest. Modified seed plates, or “goof” plates, were installed on specific row-units of each planter to intentionally create skips and doubles (Picture 1). Standard seed singulation plots contained a low occurrence of skips and doubles, whereas poor seed singulation plots contained a higher occurrence due to the modified seed plates.

 

Picture 1: Modified seed plate to intentionally create skips and doubles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Results:

Across all locations, a 93.4% singulation accuracy was recorded in the rows planted with the goof plates versus a 99.6% accuracy in adjacent rows planted with Precision Planting vSet™ meters. Reducing singulation accuracy by 6.2% resulted in a 5 bushel per acre yield loss (Figure 1) when averaged across all 22 locations.

Figure 1. Average grain yield across 22 locations from 2016 to 2020.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Additional Observations:

  • Doubled seeds can result in plants with smaller stalk diameters and ears.
  • Plants adjacent to a skip (missing plant) can produce larger ears and more grain because of less competition, which can compensate somewhat but not enough to make up the entire yield of the missing plant.
  • Plants spaced evenly apart can better tolerate stressful growing conditions.

Picture 2: Measuring seed singulation and spacing accuracy.

Recommendations and Equipment Solutions:

Massey Ferguson VE Series Planters and Fendt Momentum Planters equipped with vSet™ meters and vDrive™ will consistently achieve high singulation accuracy. Using the Precision Planting Gen3 20|20 Monitor allows for simple monitoring of seed singulation and spacing.

Payback:

$22.50** improvement in return per acre when singulation was improved in our study.

*22 sites: 2016 – Galva, Illinois; Edgewood, Iowa; Amboy, Indiana; New Ulm, Minnesota; Jackson, Minnesota; Estelline, South Dakota; 2017 – Ionia, Iowa; Morning Sun, Iowa; Judson, Minnesota; Winthrop, Minnesota; New Ulm, Minnesota; Galva, Illinois; 2018 – Bement, Illinois; Gladbrook, Iowa; Union City, Ohio; Irwin, Iowa; Mosinee, Wisconsin; 2019 – Mt Hope, Kansas; Wausau, Wisconsin; 2020 – Baltic, South Dakota; Chillicothe, Ohio; Stewartville, Minnesota

**Assumes 5 bushel per acre yield increase at $4.50/bushel

Study Contact:

Jason Lee, AGCO Agronomist. Connect with Jason on Linkedin.

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