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Can Narrow Rows Yield More Corn?

Dec 27, 2010

Today, we’re looking at narrow row corn production. There are a couple of scenarios in which we do recommend that farmers consider going this route.

Narrow rows provide two primary advantages: water management and the ability to push plant densities.
What we’re finding after a couple of decades of experience with narrow row plots is that  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” rows or twin rows. But that yield response doesn’t buy a lot of machinery. Machinery costs should definitely be a consideration in your evaluation process.
And if you sidedress, narrow rows tighten the window you can sidedress in. But if sidedress nitrogen was part of your system before your row change, it needs to carry over with your narrow row production.
It bears repeating, too, that any change in your production practices needs to be part of your overall Systems Approach.
With narrow rows there is also a difference in scouting, with insects and disease. Tight rows are good for managing water, but also can foster disease conditions.
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