Planting Depth Effects on Corn Yield in Southern North Carolina

Trial Objective

  • Determining an optimum planting depth for corn is essential for proper root development and to help prevent potential problems throughout the growing season.
  • The objective of this field experiment was to evaluate the effects of three different planting depths on corn yield in Southern North Carolina.

Research Site Details

  • The experiment was planted at the Regional Technology Center (RTC) in Maxton, NC on flat ground in two replications on 12 row strips that were 350 feet long with 20-inch 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

  • As corn planting depth decreased, average yield per acre decreased at this location (Figure 1).
  • The highest average yield per acre was observed at a planting depth of 2.5-inches. 
  • The average dollars lost per acre were from $10.35 to $27.60 at planting depths of 2-inches and 1-inch, respectively (Figure 2).

What Does This Mean for Your Farm?

  • In this trial the average yield per acre decreased and average dollars lost per acre increased when corn was planted shallower than 2.5 inches at this location.