RISKS OF LOW PLANT POPULATIONS:
Non-uniform plant stand - this may be affected by the seeding practices or the field variability. A low emergence rate could be the cause of low plant density. In fields that historically have patchy stands, a low seeding rate can compound the issue.
Weed control - low plant densities allow more room for weeds to grow. Vigilant weed management will be important if plant densities are lower.2
Uneven maturity - low plant stands may have increased branching. This can cause delayed maturity since branches flower and mature later than the main stem. In a short growing season, maturity may be an important factor to consider.2
Extended flowering - time due to increased branching in low plant populations can make it difficult to stage and time a proper sclerotinia fungicide application.
RISKS OF HIGH PLANT POPULATIONS:
Lodging - high plant densities (more than 14 plants per square foot) can result in increased lodging as stems are thin and pods may be concentrated at the top of the plant.3
Disease - high plant densities can be more at risk for yield loss due to sclerotinia. A thick canopy and increased lodging can create ideal conditions for this disease.4
Internal crop competition - too many plants condensed in a row can lead to crop competition where plants compete for available resources to the point where some plants are thinned out.
OPTIMAL SEEDING RATES. IT’S NOT ABOUT BAG WEIGHT. IT’S ABOUT PRECISION.