Should I Turn My Population Down to 20K Next Season?

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12 Sep 234 min 21 secPremium Content

After another season comes to a close soon, Kelly is wondering if he needs to adjust his corn populations next season. 

Hi, this is Kelly GE from Extreme Ag. This might be a little bit of a controversial or, uh, uh, discussion type video, which is exactly what I'm shooting for. Uh, just some thoughts and observations I have from this year that are a little bit outside the box. But hey, everything I do is outside the box. I guess we know that by reducing our soybean population, we've increased yields because we've increased plant health, we've gotten rid of competition. The way I would explain that is if the population of your soybean plants is so high that you have a lush, green, sexy looking carpet in June, it's too thick. And at that point, you have induced competition into the soybean plants, which means they're not thinking about reproduction, they're thinking about competing with their neighbor for sunlight. They're not thinking about putting on a road system. They're thinking about growing tall and straight to get that sun. That is a mistake. And by reducing our population and taking that competition out, we can help the plant push more towards reproductive. There's other things we do to push towards reproductive. Of course, the micronutrients that we put on to help balance with the nitrogen coming outta the soil, the PGRs, we use the plant health products. We use the stress mitigation products we use, all of it helps push to reproduction. But one of the simplest, most inexpensive things we can do to push reproduction is to lower the population in the soybean field to not induce competition. If you're competing, you're not reproducing. So now I start to look at this corn crop out here, and I look at the edge of the fields. I look at where I just drove down through the middle, uh, you know, through the irrigation pass, things like that. And the plants on the edge have two ears, and then sometimes places three ears. And then you go out in the middle. Every once in a while I can find two ears, but we're putting on one ear. When you dissect the plant, there's five ears inside there. We're getting one out of five. We're really not doing very good. You know, I have Evans and I have learned that American agriculture is very good at producing a sexy looking vegetative crop, and that's not what we want. We want a reproductive crop. So now I think I have increased my r o i on my soybean fields and my yield on my soybean fields by reducing the population. Why wouldn't the same be true out here in this corn? What if at 36,000 we produce one ear? What if I drop it to 24,000 and I produce two ears because I've taken competition out and the plant can become more reproductive. I'm not gonna know till I try, but I sure would be interested to know what everybody thinks. Please tell me why I can't lower my population and increase my yield. I, I see it all the time on the edges. Uh, you'll see a skip in the field. There'll be one plant out by itself. It's got four years. Well, why aren't we trying to do that? You know, the seed companies are never gonna tell us to do that because they want us to plant more seed. Uh, I'm really would just like to make more money. So next year I think I wanna have a trial and I want to turn it down to 24,000. I maybe want to turn it to 20. What if I go to 20 and I produce three years per plant, and it's like planting 60,000. Uh, in 2020, I Planted 50,000 population. I had an ear on every plant. I thought I had 400 bushel corn. But the plant health, I would say wasn't great. The ears were the, the stalks were spinely because it was so close together. The ear set was clear over my head and I'm six foot tall. You know, that wasn't, that wasn't great management. And then the deracho came and blew it all down. What if I would have 20,000 population and have three years? I don't know if it's possible, but I'm gonna try. I'm confident at 24,000. I might be able to put on two years and then that'd be like planting 48,000. Now we know 48,000 is tough to deal with because of the plant health and stress and things like that. Think about how much less vegetation you've gotta water and grow at 24,000 versus 36,000. You know, I mean, that's, that's a 33% increase or 50% increase to, or 50% decrease depending on which way you wanna do the math from. I, I really think that observing the soybeans here and now thinking about the corn, I think there's a lot of merit into looking at this. And the more and more we learn about corn and beans, the closer and closer our fertility plants come to them. So I, I don't know what the difference is. I, you know, I'm maybe way off base here, but I'm really gonna, I believe I'm gonna try this on a few acres next year and we'll see. If you think I'm crazy, please tell me. Uh, I'm interested to know what y'all think.

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