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What to Consider When Considering Narrow Row Corn

December 25, 2010
By: Margy Eckelkamp, Director of Content Development, Machinery Pete

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As farmers are looking to increase yields with increased plant densities more are turning to narrow row corn production. In episode 8 of Corn College TV, Farm Journal Field Agronomist Ken Ferrie discusses the points to consider when thinking about moving to narrow rows.

“We would move clients to narrow rows in a couple situations,” Ferrie says. “Narrow rows provide two advantages– water management and the ability to push plant densities.”

episode8 agronomicsofequipmentrowspacingWith decades of experience with narrow row plots, Ferrie says both 20” rows and twin rows show a 7 bu. to 10 bu. yield response over 30” rows.

“The yields are a bell curve when compared with population, and we hit our highest yields in 30” rows before 20” or twin rows,” he says. “But that yield response doesn’t buy a lot of machinery.”

Machinery is a consideration, if your row spacing requires new equipment for your operation or to double check custom applicators can make the switch with you.

“And if you sidedress, narrow rows tighten the window you can sidedress in,” Ferrie says. “But if sidedress nitrogen was part of your system before your row change, it needs to carry over with your narrow row production.”

Ferrie says any change in yoru production practices need to be part of your overall Systems Approach.

“With narrow rows there is also difference in scouting, with insects and disease. Tight rows are good for managing water, but also can foster disease conditions.”

Click here for the Farm Journal Test Plot Narrow Row Corn Report.

Learn more in episode 8 of Corn College TV.  

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