Roger and Nick Wenning, Greensburg, put out a twin-row corn plot for the second year in a row. Their goal isn't to compare twin rows to standard 30-inch rows – they're already convinced twin rows stand a better shot of higher yields. They plant all of their corn in twin rows with a Great Plains planter.
Instead, their goal is to determine which hybrids work best in twin rows, and at what populations. A number of seed companies sent representatives and seed when they planted the plot a few days ago to get their entries included. Boxes had to be emptied and new seed put in after each round. It's a 6-row planter, but since it's twin rows, it meant emptying and refilling 12 boxes each time.
One thing Nick didn't have to do that he did a year ago was manually change the seeding rate. He plants each hybrid in one pass at a lower population, in the high 30,000 seeds per acre range, and one at about 45,000 seeds per acre. A year ago he had to get out of the tractor cab, walk back to the planter and make the changes each time.
This year driving a somewhat newer, larger tractor better equipped to handle the planter, he also had automatic controls within the cab. He could adjust planting rate at each end of the field so that he didn't have to spend time and frustration manually changing rates.
The Wennings also didn't plant the entire length of the field, since one end starts to roll. They planted that corn to bulk corn instead. Their idea was to keep the comparisons as fair for everyone as possible. The soil type wasn't 100% uniform, but it was much more uniform that if they had planted the entire length of the field, and then combined the entire length of the field for yield comparisons next fall.