Taking a stand count early in the season when the crop has emerged is a good practice. It allows you to evaluate whether your seedbed preparation and planting went as planned. You can also evaluate whether your intended stand can be achieved.
Stand counts are simple to do and take just a little extra effort while you’re scouting for weeds and/or early-season fungal diseases. The easiest time to take a stand count is when the crop is in the 2- to 3-leaf stage because tillers aren’t yet visible.
How to take a stand count
To do a stand count, use one of the following two methods.
Count the number of plants in a foot of row at several locations in the field.
Take an average and convert to plants per acre using Table 1.
Table 1 shows the average number of plants per foot of row, based on different row spacings and plant densities per acre.
Table 1: Converting plants per foot of row to plants per acre
|Row width||800,000 plants per acre||900,000 plants per acre||1.0 million plants per acre||1.1 million plants per acre||1.2 million plants per acre||1.3 million plants per acre||1.4 million plants per acre||1.5 million plants per acre|
|6 inches||9.2 plants||10.3 plants||11.5 plants||12.6 plants||13.8 plants||14.9 plants||16.1 plants||17.2 plants|
|7 inches||10.7 plants||12.1 plants||13.4 plants||14.7 plants||16.1 plants||17.4 plants||18.7 plants||20.1 plants|
|10 inches||15.3 plants||17.2 plants||19.1 plants||21.0 plants||23.0 plants||24.9 plants||26.8 plants||28.7 plants|
|12 inches||18.4 plants||20.7 plants||23.0 plants||25.3 plants||27.5 plants||29.8 plants||32.1 plants||34.4 plants|
Take a hula-hoop, let it fall and count the number of plants inside the hoop.
Repeat this at random several times across the field and calculate an average.
Use Table 2 to convert the count to an approximate population per acre.
Table 2 shows adjustment factors to multiply the number of plants inside a hoop and convert the number to plants per acre
Table 2: Adjustment factors to convert to plants inside a hoop to plants per acre
|Hoop diameter||Multiply by|
Reviewed in 2018