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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.”

Observations.

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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