The Value of Proper Planter Settings

Trial Overview

  • Previous work at the Learning Center has shown the importance of even emergence in corn:
              - Impact of Uneven Emergence in Corn.1
              - Uneven Emergence in Corn.2
  • Various planter attachments and settings can affect seed placement, seed/soil contact, and the quality of the seedbed. These factors can impact the evenness of seedling emergence and stand establishment.

Research Objective

  • This trial was designed to measure the yield impact of seed firmers and properly-set row cleaners.
Soil Type
Previous Crop
Tillage Type
Planting Date
Harvest Date
Potential Yield
Planting Rate
Monmouth, IL
Silt loam
240+ bu/acre
36,000 seeds/acre

Site Notes:

Four treatments were tested:
         - 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 (not enough pressure) without seed firmers.
The trial was replicated twice.

Understanding the Results

Figure 1. Value of Proper Planter Settings
  • In this trial, each missing component resulted in a loss of approximately 10 bu/acre (Figure 1).
  • Both components combined resulted in a loss of approximately 20 bu/acre (Figure 1).
  • Visual differences in plant stand and height were apparent throughout the season (Figures 2 and 3).

What Does This Mean for Your Farm

  • Accurate seed placement, good seed/soil contact, and a clean seed bed are important factors in enabling corn seedlings to establish quickly and begin growing vigorously.
  • Attachments such as seed firmers can help improve seed/soil contact, leading to better establishment, even emergence, and potentially higher yields.
  • Properly-set row cleaners can also provide an environment where seedlings can emerge quickly and evenly. This can have a positive impact on yield potential.