Dryland Corn Planting Depth by Population Study


  • Uneven corn emergence and uneven distribution of plants can result in reduced yield potential.

  • Planter setup is a critical first step to successfully establishing corn yield potential.

  • The objective of this demonstration was to illustrate the importance of properly adjusted planting equipment for seeding depth and recommended seeding rate to maximize stand establishment and yield potential.



  • The demonstration used a 109 day relative maturity (RM) and two 113 day RM corn products.
  • Each corn product was planted at 2 populations at 4 seeding depths: 
    • 25,000 and 30,000 seeds per acre planted at a1.0-inch, 1.75-inch, 2.25-inch, and 3.0-inch depths.
  • The trial was planted with a Precision equipped planter with Delta Force
  • Each entry consisted of six 30-inch rows by 220 feet in length.
  • Yield data was captured with Precision Planting YieldSense and Climate FieldViewTM.
  • Field received 13.7” of total precipitation from planting date to harvest date


LocationBeatrice, NE  
Soil Type Silt clay loam 

No tillage

Planting Date04/24/21  
Harvest Date09/27/21 

Potential Yield
Seeding Rate
25,000, 30,000

image Figure 1. Left rows of center planted at 30,000 seeds per acre and at a 3-inch depth, right rows of center planted at 25,000 seeds per acre and at a 1- inch depth.


image Figure 2. Corn yield performance averaged across 3 corn products planted at 2 different populations and 4 different depths. Beatrice, NE 2021.
image 3a. 30,000 seeds per acre planted at 1-inch depth.
image 3b. 30,000 seeds per acre planted at 1.75-inch depth.
image 3c. 30,000 seeds per acre planted at 2.25-inch depth
image 3d. 30,000 seeds per acre planted at 3-inch depth.

Figure 3. Note delay in maturity as a result of planting depth.  Image taken on August 23, 2021. 

  • In this trial, the highest yield was achieved with a seed depth of 2.25-inch when averaged across all three corn products (Figure 2).  

  • At the higher population, yield increased as seeding depth increased across the entries.  

  • Emergence was faster at the 1.0-inch seeding depth; however, yield inconsistency across corn products also increased (Figure 2). 

  • Senescence was also impacted with seeding depth as moisture stress caused shallower rooted entries to mature quicker than deeper planted entries especially at 30,000 seeds per acre (Figure 3). 



  • This demonstration illustrates that planter setup for proper seeding depth combined with following recommended planting populations for a given corn product and area can help maximize yield potential.



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