Planting Depth Effects on Corn Yield - Coastal East


Trial OverView

Determining an optimum planting depth for corn is essential for proper root development and to help prevent potential problems throughout the growing season.

Research Objective

The objective of this experiment was to evaluate the effects of three different planting depths on corn yield. 

 Location Soil Previous Crop Tillage Type Planting Date Harvest Date Potential Yield/Acre Planting Rate/Acre
 Maxon, NC  Sandy Clay Loam  Cotton  Conventional  3/29/2017  8/24/2017  N/A  32,000


  • The experiment was planted at the Regional Technology Center (RTC) in Maxton, NC on flat ground in 12 row strips with 20-inch row spacing.
  • Treatments included three different planting depths: 1-inch, 2-inch, and 2.5-inch.
  • Each treatment was sub-irrigated and received 300 units of nitrogen. All other agronomic practices were per local standards.

Understanding the Results 

Treatment Planting Depth (inch) Harvest Moisture Average Yield (bu/acre) Average bu lost/acre Price of Corn/bu $ Lost/Acre
 1  1  16.1%  212  -6  $3.45  -$20.70
 2  2  16.2%  215  -3  $3.45  -$10.35
 3  2.5  16.2%  218  0  $3.45  -$0.00

What does this mean for your farm?

  • Average yield per acre decreased when corn was planted shallower than 2.5 inches at this location.
  • The average dollars lost per acre were $10.35 for a planting depth of 2 inches and $20.70 when planted 1 inch deep.