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
- Root mass
- Silage quantity and quality
- Combine head
- Disease threats
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.