Impact of Planter Settings on Corn Yield

Trial Objective

  • To measure the impact of seed firmers and properly set row cleaners on corn yield potential.
  • Previous work at the Monmouth Learning Center has illustrated the importance of proper planter settings and their impact on even emergence:
    • — The Value of Proper Planter Settings – 2017 Monmouth Learning Center Demonstration Report
    • — Click on the following link to view the Monmouth Learning Center video talking about planter settings recorded Spring of 2018. https://vimeo.com/262847274
  • Choice of equipment can affect seed placement, seed-to-soil contact, and the quality of the seed bed. These factors can impact evenness of seedling emergence and stand establishment, ultimately impacting yield.

Research Site Details


  • This was a repeat of a trial we conducted in 2017 on no-till, continuous corn. In 2018, the trial was located in a field with conventional tillage and in the second year of corn production.
  • Treatments included:
    • — Properly-set row cleaners with seed firmers
    • — Properly-set row cleaners without seed firmers
    • — Improperly-set row cleaners (not enough pressure) with seed firmers
    • — Improperly-set row cleaners without seed firmers
  • Each treatment had two replications.

Understanding the Results

  • When both seed firmers and row cleaners were used and set correctly, the two-year average yield was 287.6 bu/acre.
  • With properly-set row cleaners and seed firmers, we achieved an average of an additional 13.8 bu/acre.
  • Without seed firmers, the two-year average yield was 280.9 bu/acre, and with improperly-set row cleaners the two-year average yield was 279.9 bu/acre.
  • Without seed firmers and improperly-set row cleaners, the two-year average yield was 273.8 bu/acre.


What Does This Mean For Your Farm?

  • Accurate seed placement, good seed-to-soil contact, and a clean seedbed are important factors in enabling corn seedlings to establish quickly and begin growing vigorously.
  • Seed firmers can help improve seed-to-soil contact, leading to better establishment, more even emergence, and potentially higher yields.
  •  Properly set row cleaners can also provide an environment that promotes even emergence which can have a positive impact on crop yield potential.