Day of Emergence Study

Photo of growers flagging crops to track yield based on emergence timing

Key Points

  • Objective: This multi-year study illustrates the impact of yield loss when corn plants emerge from the soil surface on an inconsistent basis. 
  • Potential Losses: The greatest potential loss lies in the 36-hour emergence window when yield loss typically hits at least 30%. That percentage of loss increases with each 12-hour window that follows.
  • An Example: Imagine an 800-acre farm that grows 200 Bu/A corn. If that farm sees 80% of their crops emerge within 12 hours, and then see 10% of crops emerge within 12-24 hours and another 10% emerge by 36 hours, our data suggests they would be losing up to 7,200 bushels or around $27,000.

Even emergence is critical for high corn yield.

What is the impact on yield when corn plants emerge from the soil surface inconsistently? How valuable is it to pursue even emergence? We took to the PTI Farm to answer these questions!

We track this data each year by flagging corn plants at the time of emergence and then at 12-hour increments. When it comes time to harvest, we perform manual ear checks from the crops in each emergence category to calculate potential yield loss from late-emerging plants.

Based on the data we collected, we found that even as much as a 12-hour difference in time of initial emergence led to a 15% yield loss. That potential loss percentage increased with each window of late-emergence.

This is a major opportunity! This data shows us that anything we can do to create even emergence will lead to a higher profit and lower yield loss on our farm.

Photo Showing Corn Yield Loss By Emergence Window

One of the most interesting pieces of this study is looking at the percentage of our crops that emerged in each timeframe. In 2021, 66.3% of our crops emerged in the first 12 hours and 28.5% emerged in the 12-24 hour range. These two windows made up the majority of our crop stands, which means that the greatest opportunity to reduce yield loss occurs within a 12-hour period.

By tracking the day of emergence of your own crops, you can work with a Precision Planting Premier Dealer to help determine how to move the needle so more of your crop emerges uniformly in that first 12-hour window. This can be improved by addressing improper soil density, side wall compact, proper planter maintenance, downforce, and more!

Day of Emergence Study Results

In-Depth Study Videos

InsidePTI S3•E06

Day of Emergence ‣ Corn

InsidePTI S2•E11

Day of Emergence ‣ Corn - Multi-Year

InsidePTI S2•E10

Day of Emergence ‣ Corn

Study Details 

Study data collected 2018-2022 at the PTI Farm in Pontiac, IL.

Planting DateVaried By YearRotationCAB
Row Width30"Population34K-36K
Corn Prices

2022 - $6.00

2021 - $5.00

2020 - $3.75

2019 - $3.67

2018 - $3.50


2022 - DK 65-95

2021 - DK 59-82

2018-2020 - Varied

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