Nick and Roger Wenning, Greensburg, purchased a twin-row planter and began planting in twin rows a couple of years ago. They believe in the concept so strongly that it's no longer a question of whether or not they will continue to plant in twin rows. Now it's a question of which hybrids respond best to twin rows, and how thick can they plant in twin rows for optimum yield and/or profit.
The Wennings hope to answer some of those questions after they analyze data from the large on-farm test plot they harvested last week. Various seed representatives helped weigh the plots. They deal with a number of companies, and had a large number of hybrids in their plot. Part of their goal is to see which ones respond best in twin rows, since they have decided that twin rows are their system of choice.
The second big decision is planting population. They tested two populations on each hybrid – 39,000 and 45,000 plants per acre. They also tried even higher populations in side plots, looking toward the future.
Stine Seeds is looking at populations up to 55,000 plants per acre. While they're not recommending those yet, they are showing farmers that some hybrids can take higher populations much better than others. They are planting in 12-inch rows, and developed a planter for plots that plant in 12-inch rows. They also plant larger fields in 12-inch rows.
The idea is to test the concept. Many agree that the future looks like higher populations as farmers chase 300 bushels per acre. The Wennings were pegging 270 bushels per acre with certain hybrids in their plot, on soils that aren't typically thought of as particularly suited to high yields. It's likely only a matter of time before farmers bumping population and paying attention to soil health reach that 300 bushel per acre level.