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PFR Report

Importance of Emergence

Published on Tuesday, May 02, 2017

One important characteristic we consider during product selection is emergence. We spend a lot of energy researching not just the best products, but also the equipment and attachments that will help deliver a uniform stand. When looking at corn products, the goal is to evaluate and identify the products that will deliver the best in uniformity and speed of emergence.  

So why is emergence so important and what impact can it have on our end yield? This was one question Beck’s Practical Farm Research (PFR)® team set out to answer in 2016. Last year, all six of our PFR sites monitored 12-hour emergence during one or more dates in the corn planting date study. During this monitoring, plants were marked in a 17.5 ft. section every 12 hours until full emergence occurred in that section. One of the monitored planting dates at the Ohio PFR site was the late planting date of June 8, 2016. When evaluated shortly after emergence, clear visual differences in the time of emergence were evident, as shown below.

Pink Flag: Emerged on the afternoon of June 13
Yellow Flag: Emerged on the morning of June 14

After noting these differences in early season growth, the next question we asked ourselves was “will this this impact pollination?” When looking at the earlier emerging plants, it was evident that silking and tasseling were occurring at the same time. The plants that emerged later showed a greater variation in timing between silking and tasseling, as shown in the graph below.


At the end of the season, the plants that were monitored for emergence were hand harvested to determine the yield impact they experienced. When plants emerged earlier, we noted that there was more simultaneous silking and tasseling, which translated to better pollination and more consistent ears.

The early emerging plants experienced a yield increase of over 25 Bu./A., as detailed in the chart below.

In summary, timing of emergence has a clear impact on yield. It should be noted that the late season planting date will likely show the most extreme differences in emergence and yield impact. For instance, the yield potential for a June 8 planting date at a population of 34,000 seeds/A. is knocked down to 68 percent of the optimum at the time of planting. As the crop starts the season out with an already lowered yield potential, in-season hurdles will likely be more severe. Genetics can play a huge role in emergence, but there are many other things that can influence it as well. Early season factors such as shallow planting depth, fertilizer burn, poor seed-to-soil contact, an open seed trench, compaction, imbibitional chilling, herbicide damage, and insect or disease damage can all negatively impact emergence. Beck’s PFR team will continue to monitor emergence and its impact on yield in 2017.


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Author: Alex Knight

Categories: PFR, PFR Reports


Alex Knight

Alex Knight

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