Twin-row corn and narrow row corn get hype and reporting, and will continue to do so. Both could be valuable to the future because they could allow farmers to increase plant populations and get more ears per acre. However, the trend is barely smoldering in Indiana so far.
We asked Indiana Master Farmers survey questions about where they were with technology on their farms. Nearly half responded. While some technologies are red-hot, no one amongst the group has yet made the switch to twin-row corn.
That doesn't mean that no one is doing it. Roger and Nick Wenning, Greensburg, have been using twin-rows for at least two years. They are fine-tuning which hybrids and populations work best in twin rows. There are a few other twin-row planters in use in other areas of Indiana. One of the primary hosts of the Farm Progress Show at Decatur, Ill., has planted in twin rows for several years.
Two of the respondents are currently in 15 or 20-inch rows for corn. More respondents, about 10%, use the Veris mapping technology that detects electric current in the soil and produces a map of soil differences than are using either twin-row or narrow row corn.
One problem for twin-row and narrow corn is that it requires an equipment change. Some companies are starting to make twin-row planters more available. As the technology becomes more available, it's possible more farmers may try it.
Stine Seeds is experimenting with rows even narrower than 15 inches. The company plants 12-inch rows in tests and fields. They use both normal and high populations to show farmers how some hybrids of today can withstand stress better than others. Stine has not recommended 12-inch rows, but is looking toward the future.
Meanwhile Calmer Corn Heads in Illinois, a farmer built company, has designed a 12-inch row corn head. People who do these things are gambling they're on the cutting edge and not the bleeding edge.