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SPRE: No-Till Corn Seeding Rates Up For 4th Straight Year: April 17, 2013

5th Annual No-Till Benchmark Study

No-Till Corn Seeding Rates
Up For 4th Straight Year

No-tillers seeding soybeans with the planter will use nearly 11% less seed than operators of no-till drills.

By Darrell Bruggink, Executive Editor

When it comes to corn and soybeans, the seeding rates no-tillers have been using have headed in different directions for several years. While corn rates have gone up, soybean populations have been declining.

For the fourth straight year, the readers of No-Till Farmer increased their corn-seeding populations, although it appears that soybean rates have leveled off for at least 1 year.

The 5th annual No-Till Benchmark Study reveals that seeding populations for corn rose to 31,103 in 2012. In the previous 3 years, the seeding rate had gone from 30,130 to 30,535 and finally 30,736.

When it came to soybeans, whether readers increased or lowered seeding rates depended upon what they used to put the seed in the ground. Drill operators actually bumped up their rate by 0.7% to 164,894, compared to 163,795 in 2011.

However, planter operators dropped their soybean seeding rates again, from 147,486 in 2011 to 146,997 per acre in 2012, for a decline of 0.3%.

When you compare the seeding rates used with drills to planters, rates with planters are 17,897 fewer seeds per acre, or 10.9% less. (See Figure 13.)

Figure 13.
Drill/Planter Bar Chart

DeKalb Picks Up Market Share

We also asked no-tillers what brands of seed they planned to buy for 2013.

Pioneer Hi-Bred remains the market leader among no-tillers at 47% — but that’s a decline from 52% last year. DeKalb picked up most of what Pioneer lost by increasing its market share from 35% to 39%. Both Syngenta Seeds’ brands and Mycogen Seeds inched up a point to 19% and 11%, respectively.

Some 35% of survey respondents expect to plant at least one other seed brand this year, while 22% will plant two or more other seed brands.

The use of Roundup Ready corn continues to increase among no-tillers. At 83% in 2011 and 85% in 2012, Roundup Ready will be used by 89% of No-Till Farmerreaders. The use of non-GMO corn and LibertyLink hybrids will decrease for the second straight year. Both were used at a 22% rate in 2012, but non-GMOs hybrids will slip to 19% and LibertyLink to 20%.

Table 14.

Some 55% of no-tillers use a corn-rootworm trait, while 56% rely on a European corn-borer trait.

When it comes to soybeans, Pioneer Hi-Bred again leads in market share among no-tillers at 42%, down just 1 percentage point from last year. Asgrow is second at 28%, but that’s down from 31% the prior year. Both NK and Mycogen Seeds will see growth, with NK rising from 18% to 21% and Mycogen getting a boost from 3% to 5%.

“One other seed brand” will be used by 40% of no-tillers, while 17% say they will seed two or more other seed brands.

Roundy Ready varieties will see a decline in use by no-tillers, from 95% last year to 93% in 2013. LibertyLink varieties will remain level at 8%, while non-GMO varieties will drop from 9% in 2012 to 7% this year. 


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