No-tillers may switch to narrow-row corn for a variety of reasons. Yield is usually the primary reason for planting corn in 22-inch rows or less.
Field conditions could be another consideration. Growers suffering through drought conditions may plant corn in narrow rows because it will canopy quicker and reduce soil moisture evaporation.
But none of these advantages can occur if the corn seed isn’t planted properly. Here are 8 tips that veteran no-tillers shared for perfecting planter setups and improving narrow-row-corn planting, to get the biggest payoff.
Perfecting the planting process begins several months before the planter is pulled out of the shop. No-tillers should begin laying out plans during harvest, when residue is being processed and distributed on fields.
When Alpha, Ill., no-tiller Marion Calmer switched to narrow-row corn in the mid-1990s, he was planting a little higher population and achieving higher yields, resulting in more residue in the field — about 10% to 15% more fodder, the founder of Calmer Corn Heads estimates. He suddenly had a mattress of residue in the field.
One time in those early years, he recalls, he was able to move residue out of the row area, but created a tall windrow between the planted areas. One day, 30 mph winds came through and blew the residue back over the row area.
“A front went through and we had cold rain. So now the soil’s cold, the seed was chilled and then the residue was on top of it,”…