WHICH IS BEST? Jim Leverich compares soybean plants from 7-, 14-, and 21-inch rows planted in populations of 200,000, 180,000 and 160,000 plants per acre. â??They yielded about the same, regardless of the row widthâ?? he says. â??But we might be able to save money in seed costs with the 14-inch row.â??

Wider Is Better

With the shift from ultra-wide to ultra-narrow rows, this no-tiller says there may be some method to our forefather’s madness of wider rows.

If there's anything that Jim Leverich isn’t, it’s a follower.

While neighbors were buzzing about the exciting realm of 7-inch row soybeans, this no-tiller from Sparta, Wis., took an objective approach.

“Most of the research I’ve seen lately is geared toward moving people from 30-inch rows down to 7-inch rows,” he says. “But new Wisconsin research shows that the best soybean yields planted with the corn planter could be achieved at 14-inch rows.”

The Experiment.

With this in mind, the Monroe Co., Wis. Ag Agent set up his own test plots, comparing 7-, 14- and 21-inch rows. He also assessed the impact that different row spacings had on white mold disease, a major concern to Wisconsin no-tillers.

“We planted different populations for the different spacings,” he says. “We were trying to see if we could get the soybeans to produce in 21-inch rows and not sacrifice yields. If so, we could save seed costs and still use the same corn planter for no-tilling corn and soybeans.

“The yields were all essentially the same. That might mean exciting things about saving money in no-till seed costs.”

Leverich’s test plots all got an application of 200 pounds per acre of 9-30-30. “It should feed the soybeans all the nutrients they need,” he says. “We put a little nitrogen in there because since it’s no-till, it’s recommended.”


Besides saving on seed costs, Leverich noticed a few other benefits to making the switch back to 14-inch rows.

“The soybeans don’t seem to lodge…

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