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60" rows and ear corn
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Mark in NEMO
Posted 11/29/2023 11:02 (#10502085 - in reply to #10502002)
Subject: RE: 60" rows and ear corn

Northeast Missouri

Sounds like you need to do some research if you want to know much about wide-row corn. Lots there to Google.

YES, there are a lot of assumptions--there are a lot in any difficult-to-measure practice. If you can come up with better numbers, please do--and as my teachers would say, show your work! The whole point of my post was to provide something to shoot at and start a discussion--your numbers will likely differ.

> From what I have read, they are trying to get that earlier fall growth with a forage crop interseeded between the 60" rows. The idea being... allowing that sunlight to penetrate down into the canopy and allow that interseeded forage to grow.

Not just fall, but all summer. However growth really gets a boost when the corn is no longer shading the row middles.

> if you go to a 60" row configuration, are you going to have a lot more weed pressure at the end of the season?

Possible; that's why it calls for more on-farm work to fine-tune the practice "where you are" (in your own situation). One factor is your choice of cover crop species--you can suppress weeds a lot early (and all season) with the right combination of cover plants. One of the tricks is to have excellent weed control at the time you interseed the covers, but no herbicide carryover that would affect their growth. So things like Liberty Link corn with an application right ahead of interseeding is, for example, something to try.

> If you are going to plant 100 acres of 60" row corn, why not plant 50 acres of 30" row corn, and plant the other 50 acres into a forage crop, and manage the two accordingly.???

It should be possible to get most of a full corn yield, because 60-inch rows take advantage of the edge effect. And you should also get more (and higher quality) fall grazing than if grazing corn stalks alone--for more total income per acre than the two 50-acre crops you mention. With the wide row middles covered with green growth, you essentially have most of the soil covered for most of the year, while it's hard to have that with 30-inch rows unless you are no-tilling into a good amount of residue. Some of the species you might plant in the row middles have deep tap roots and/or nutrient extraction capabilities (like buckwheat) and/or can enhance mycorrhizza growth--all of which contribute to soil health and productivity *while* growing a crop of corn.
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