On Farm Research Leads to Choosing 15 Inch Rows
Lane Sinele is farming in central Illinois and he moved into the idea of planting at 15 inch distance between corn rows over 15 years ago rebuilding his head by hand with the help of his sons and calmer parts. Listen to his full discussion on his growing choices, and harvesting preferences including covering his young sons in gear box grease to keep frugal in farming. Lane didn’t just jump ship to 15 inch corn rows, but did 3+ years of side by side growing tests using rental heads from Calmer HQ to do the cutting.
In the end, the yield results made the choice for him. And he and his son’s embarked on cutting up and repurposing row units to hand build the head themselves.
15 Inch Row Spaceing Advantages
The primary reason for this advantage is light utilization; canopy closure is approximately 15 days earlier in 15-inch rows compared to 30-inch rows. Canopy closure earlier in the growing season results in greater light interception and higher growth rates.
Planting dates can influence the potential advantage of narrow rows. Planting in late April or early May will result in higher yields than planting in late May or June regardless of row spacing. However, narrow rows are even more advantageous in late-planting situations because they are able to capture available sunlight more quickly.
Pros of Narrow Corn Spacing
The potential benefits of narrow row spacing (< 22.5 inches) can include:
- Equidistant in-row plant spacing. In theory, a more equidistant spacing within the row will help minimize competition among plants for water, nutrients, and light.2 Less competition among plants can help when stress factors are present.
- Better weed control. Narrow rows can allow for faster canopy closure and more shading, which can improved weed control.3
- Less water loss to evaporation. Narrow rows shade the soil surface earlier in the season, keeping soil moist longer due to less evaporation.4
- Consolidating farm equipment. Narrow rows may allow growers to use one planter for multiple crops.
- Higher yield potential. The benefits mentioned above may help to increased yield potential.
Cons of Narrow Corn Spacing