Planting Guide

2021

Pioneer® agronomy experts and Granular® Data Scientists debunk three top planting myths and distill data for your state to drive your decisions this spring

Myth 1:
Always plant corn before soybeans

photo of Dr. Mark Jeschke

“For decades, common practice has been to plant soybeans after corn, but research shows that moving soybean planting earlier can add yield. Early planted soybeans generally reach canopy closure sooner, intercept more sunlight, and spend longer duration in reproductive growth, all of which lead to high yield potential. Make the decision on what to plant first based upon individual field conditions and what hybrid or variety will go on it.”

Dr. Mark Jeschke, Pioneer Agronomy Manager

See the highest yield potential planting dates in recent years for corn and beans from Illinois

Check out the Planting Date Insight in Granular Insights for free to see which planting dates yielded best for you last year

Myth 2:
Your seeding rate doesn’t need to vary much from year to year

photo of corn plants

Truth 2:
Your hybrid choice, seedbed conditions and yield goals should dictate seeding rate

Not understanding your economic optimum seeding rate could be costing you up to $40/acre
photo of Dr. Brewer Blessit

“When it comes to seeding rate, don’t set it and forget it year after year. Understand the trials from your area and compare rates within your operation. We’ve increased, on average, 275 seeds/acre each year the past three decades. More seeds can equal more yield potential, but make sure that you’re adjusting based upon hybrid choice, spring field conditions and your yield goals for the year.”

Dr. Brewer Blessit, Agronomy Manager

See the highest yielding seeding rates for corn and beans from Illinois

Myth 3:
Corn planted shallow will emerge faster, driving higher-end yield

photo of corn rows

Truth 3:
Shallow planting (less than 2 inches) leads to uneven emergence

There’s a 20-bushel disadvantage to corn planted at 1 inch vs. 3 inches or over $80 per acre
photo of Dr. Mary Gumz

“You really can’t plant corn too deep. If you want an even stand, stay at two and a half to three inches. At two inches or less, you’re going to fight topsoil variability and temperature. And I don’t recommend “cheating” on planting depth even on your higher-yielding, better ground. It’s rewarding to see that quick emergence with shallow planting, but it will be fleeting as you fight uneven emergence and potential yield loss the rest of the season.”

Dr. Mary Gumz, Agronomy Manager

Download a copy of your state's charts and get a free bonus Plant21 checklist

1 State-based insights are based on more than 5 million acres from 2020 compiled by Granular Data Scientists. All individual data and information shared with Granular — electronic or otherwise — submitted by farmers in connection with our tools and services will never be shared unless authorized by the farmer. Granular does compile or aggregate data segments or groups to look for averages, trends and other key indicators to help make operations more productive and profitable.