Plant Population and Seed Spacing Impact on Corn Yield

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In the past, I have had questions about what the seed spacing of corn in inches would be for various populations at a given row width. I have put together a table that gives the inches per seed for a range of plant populations and row widths (see Table below). 

Things to think about:

  • If your ears of corn in previous years are filled all the way to the tip, this may be a sign that you have not exceeded the yield potential of your soils, growing conditions, hybrids, and/or management practices and you could benefit from an increase in your corn plant populations.
  • Make certain that all parts of your planter such as brushes, vacuum/pressure settings, or the operation of your planter such as planter speed are correct so as to provide precision seeding. Studies have shown that for each inch you deviate or vary from your intended plant spacing, you lose about 6 bushels of corn per acre.
  • If you feel that you are leaving bushels of corn on the table, then you may want to increase your seeding rate. I would advise that you make incremental increases in your plant population such as 2,000 seeds per acre.
  • Some varieties have better stand ability than others and attention should be given to your particular corn hybrids when determining seeding rates. On our most “thirsty soils” in the county, I would not use less than 28,000 seeds per acre. On most of our corn acres, seeding rates of 32,000 to 34,000 seeds would work. On our most productive land, I would not use any more than 36,000 seeds per acre, unless you have tested your corn hybrids and/or land at those higher seeding rates as well as have a means for supplemental water.
  • No matter what your row width, it is not advisable to have an in-row spacing of less than 6 inches (6 inches between seeds).

I give you this information just to let you think about what is best for your operation.  If you have questions, please give me a call.

Inches Per Seed at Various Row Widths and Seeds Per Acre@

Row Width


24,000 Seeds

Per Acre

26,000 Seeds

Per Acre

28,000 Seeds

Per Acre

30,000 Seeds

Per Acre

32,000 Seeds

Per Acre

34,000 Seeds

Per Acre

36,000 Seeds

Per Acre

38,000 Seeds

Per Acre

20 13.1 12.1 11.2 10.5 9.8 9.2 8.7 8.3
24 10.9 10.1 9.3 8.7 8.2 7.7 7.3 6.8
26.6 9.8 9.1 8.4 7.9 7.4 6.9 6.6 6.2
30 8.7 8.0 7.5 7.0 6.5 6.1 5.8 5.5
36 7.3 6.7 6.2 5.8 5.4 5.1 4.8 4.6
38 6.9 6.3 5.9 5.5 5.2 4.9 4.6 4.3
40 6.5 6.0 5.6 5.2 4.9 4.6 4.3 4.1

@ Regardless of the row width and seeding rate, seed spacing should be approximately 6 inches.