For growers who are new to high density corn planting, shortening the rows can create a tall list of questions. Stine Seed Company specializes in this area and David Thompson says there are a few things that growers need to remember.
“Not all genetics are created equal. Time and time again I’ve talked to growers say they’ve tried boosting the pop a few years ago and it really didn’t provide a good return so, you know, high pop doesn’t work. Well, that’s because they were using genetics that were adapted for 30-inch rows and more moderate population environments.”
Thompson says the only thing that really differs in high density corn planting is fertility.
“Making sure you have the fertility there to meet the goals you want to accomplish. In other words, if you only fertilize for 150-bushel corn, that’s all you’re going to get. It doesn’t matter how high of a population you plant, right? So you’ve got to make sure you’ve got enough resources there to take advantage of the inputs that you’re putting in in terms of seed.”
While there is no exact science to row spacing. Thompson says the Stine Seed farm has gone from 20-inch rows to 12-inch rows and now to 20-inch twin row spacing.
“You need to be able to narrow up those rows so that you can get that in-row spacing a little bit better because your goal is to get good, almost equidistant spacing so that each of those corn plants has equal amount of space around it on all sides. Because once those plants get crowded together, they start competing for sunlight, nutrients and all that. It can have a negative impact on yield.”
More than 2,000 acres are split across 13 different growers in Indiana who are planting with the new 20-inch twin row spacing this year.