Twin-row corn is still simmering underneath the surface in Indiana. Although specialists have yet to show an advantage, some farmers believe there is one. Some of it is based on hard and fast comparisons, other times it's only anecdotal evidence. Others believe that it only makes sense that if they want to up populations above where they are now, they need to spread plants out. That means 20-, 15- or even 12-inch rows, or twin rows.
Calmer Cornheads introduced a 12-inch cornhead at the 2012 Farm progress Show, the first of its kind. It makes shelling various row widths much more feasible. Other companies are working with prototypes of very different styles of heads that could harvest corn in a wide variety or row widths.
Current heads set to harvest 30-inch rows can harvest twin rows easily, even if the rows are 8-inches apart. That's the standard width for those using Great Plains planters set up for planting twin rows.
Both Kinze and Case IH also entered the twin-row market with planters this fall. One farmer in west-central Indiana has been waiting on Kinze to bring out the planter. He believes twin-row corn will pay on his farm.
Roger and Nick Wenning, Greensburg, planted a large, field-size plot of twin-row corn using a Great Plains planter on May 14. The planting date is significant because experts from seed companies who helped with the plot believe it was the difference between 140 to 160 bushel yields and 60 bushel yields seen in the same area for corn planted in April.
"With these yields we should be able to draw good comparisons," Roger says. He's hoping to learn which hybrids do well in twin rows, and how far he can push the populations. He realizes that because of conditions this year, it may take another year or two with similar plots to get those answers.
Several hybrids were included in the plot. Previous experience by another farmer has shown that one hybrid may respond to twin rows and more than pay for the change, while another hybrid may not respond. Roger also wanted to see the comparison between planting at 39,000 and 45,000 seeds per acre.
Once results are in for this twin-row corn plot, we will share them with you.