“With single rows, there’s not much difference in yield, whether we’re at three or five plants. With twin rows, we’re maximizing at four and a half to five plants per foot.

“With single rows, a broader range of optimum plant stand often can be achieved with a lower seeding rate of around five seed per foot, when you’re planting high-quality seed.

“But it’s a slightly different story with the twin-row pattern. We require higher plant stands to maximize yields in order to realize the benefits of the reduced competition by spreading out those plants. We’ve actually seen that seeding rates up to seven seed per foot are required to maximize your profit potential in the twin-row pattern.”

As low as five seed per foot in single rows does have the potential to save you money in terms of seed costs, when planting high-quality seed, notes Tubbs. A seeding rate of seven seed per foot can be profitable with twin rows, but whenever you go above seven seed per foot, you usually see a leveling off of the final plant stand, he says.

As far as planting conditions, says Tubbs, whenever you drop below the 68 degrees F. range in soil temperature, you’ll definitely lose some stand due to poor germination. “I think you need a minimum of 68 degrees F., and 70 degrees is probably even better.”

The recommended average seed depth, says Tubbs, is 2.5 inches.

“That will vary according to soil texture and irrigation availability, but that’s the average. You need to be planting in adequate soil moisture, and you don’t need to be dusting in the seed because that can affect your depth of planting.

“Make sure there’s adequate soil moisture to get those plants out of the ground. This will help you maximize every seed you put into the ground.”

Tubbs says University of Georgia data also shows that for every 1 mile-per-hour increase in tractor speed going through the field, there’s almost a half plant per foot reduction in plant stand in the single-row pattern.

“That planter plate is spinning much more rapidly in single rows than in twin rows. By speeding up the tractor, you’re causing a lot more skips to occur.

“Our recommended speed is 3 miles per hour or less. I know there are situations where 3 miles per hour won’t be adequate for a lot of growers. But if you have the opportunity to slow down, and most of your acreage is already planted, you can benefit yourself in terms of plant population.”

The most costly decision you’ll have to make this year in terms of planting will be the decision to replant, says Tubbs, so you’ll want to get it right the first time, especially in a year when seed costs are so high.

“Replanting can, in some cases, more than double your planting costs. If you are planning on planting your own saved seed, please get germination tests conducted to make sure it’s good quality seed.

“In some cases, it’s not handled properly, and wasn’t grown under optimum conditions, so there could be some concerns there.

“We are doing some replant testing under different scenarios to help you determine what thresholds to use when determining whether or not to replant — whether to completely replant or to plant next to the existing stand.”

phollis@farmpress.com