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BY GIVING UP a few bushels of corn, no-tillers who raise livestock can come out ahead financially by planting and grazing 60-inch rows, says Jack Boyer, a Reinbeck, Iowa, no-tiller.
Boyer conducted a 2-year experiment to compare 30-inch and 60-inch corn and cover crops grown between the rows. In 2018, he planted 30-inch and 60-inch corn. On the 60-inch rows, he planted a “poor man’s twin row” by making two passes that were 3 inches apart with his no-till corn planter. Every other row on the planter was turned off, and cowpeas were planted at the same time using the blank corn row unit set for beans. He varied the population from one pass to another to avoid side-by-side plants.
Unfortunately, due to a cool spring, the cowpeas and waterhemp took off at the same time, so Boyer ended up terminating everything except the corn.
He came back in the first week of June when the corn was at V4 and interseeded a mix of 10 pounds of cowpeas, 10 pounds of guar, 5 pounds of cereal rye, 5 pounds of annual ryegrass, 2 pounds of rapeseed, 5 pounds of buckwheat and 5 pounds of flax. He used Dawn Duoseed row units set up to drill 2 rows on 10-inch centers between the 30-inch rows and 4 rows between the 60-inch rows. That year, his corn yields were 200 bushels per acre in the 30-inch rows and 205 bushels per acre in the 60-inch rows.
In his 2019 experiment, Boyer…