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Double up: Find advantages with twin rows.

Agronomy Bulletin 65 ─ Twin-Row Corn

Combine heads traditionally used in single-row fields also can harvest twin-row corn.


Extensive university research illustrates that corn planted in a twin-row configuration can have a significant yield advantage versus a single-row crop. Several factors support this conclusion.

Factors to Consider

  • Uniformity
  • Root mass
  • Silage quantity and quality
  • Combine head
  • Disease threats

Action Plan

  1. Plant consistently for uniformity. Twin-row plants are seeded in paired rows, usually 7 to 8 inches wide. Each row center is spaced at 30 inches. Within the twin rows, plants are staggered diagonally at about 10 inches.
  2. Increase root mass. Corn roots grow in a circle. Large roots maximize nutrient retrieval and moisture absorption. Unfortunately, once roots encounter a neighboring plant, they stop growing. In a twin-row configuration, roots have more space for growth. Consider that in a 38,000-population field planted in single 30-inch rows, roots use 14.4 percent of acreage for growth and moisture gathering. Compare that with 44.5 percent in a twin-row configuration.
  3. Support silage with more nutrients. Twin-row leaves are more efficient at capturing sunlight. This fosters taller plants, bigger ears and larger stalks that create a canopy to shade the ground and conserve water. Further, larger stalks increase tonnage by 10 percent to 15 percent and, more important, relative feed value increases by 8 percent. In one university study, this translated to a 29 percent increase in milk production.
  4. Combine as usual. Twin-row corn can be harvested with conventional combine heads. A standard 30-inch corn head harvests twin-row stalks as easily as a single 30-inch row, sparing growers a major investment.
  5. Consider insect threats. One downside to twin-row corn is the increased susceptibility to insect threats, particularly rootworms. Growers in high-risk areas should consider the potential for increased insecticide costs before planting. However, twin-row corn is more adept at fighting weed threats by providing increased shading for more competition with developing weed seedlings.


Twin rows increase the uniformity of a corn crop and more efficiently absorb nutrients, maximizing genetic yield potential. For more information, contact your local Mycogen Seeds commercial agronomist or trusted agronomic adviser.

Published on Wednesday, December 10, 2014