Early season scouting on your corn fields is the best way to maximize profitability on every acre. An easy thing to do is check the live stand in your fields. To do this, count the number of plants in 1/1000th of an acre. If you have 30 inch rows, you will want to count the number of plants in 17 feet 5 inches. In 20 inch rows, count the number of plants in 26 feet 2 inches. Take the number of plants in the appropriate length for your row spacing and times that by 1000 to get your live stand. Do this in different areas of each field to get a good average. Once the live stand is established I like to compare that to the amount of seed that was planted. Are there any patterns: Does early planted corn have less live plants than later planted? Any varieties showing weaker emergence? Strip till or double shot showing better emergence than other fields? Keep the live stand in mind to evaluate yield potential and manage accordingly. Corn can produce up to 8 bushels per 1000 plants with 6 bushels per 1000 plants being a good average. Make sure your fertility is set up to feed the potential yield. A field with 30,000 live plants should be managed for 180+ bushels per acre. There is still time to side dress more nutrients or apply micronutrients to maximize yield.
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