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Making the transition to no-till was a big step for Lapp Brothers Farms in making their soils more productive. But to get even more yield and tonnage out of corn silage meant taking a narrower view.
“We think there’s a plateau in yields to an extent by staying at 30-inch-row corn,” says Eugene Lapp, who with his brother Curtis and father Aaron no-till 300 acres of corn and custom-plant another 700 acres near Kinzers, Pa. “We think we can pick up some yield by going to narrower corn rows.”
The Lapps’ trials with narrow-row corn began 6 years ago when they took a soybean planter with 17-inch row spacings, added corn meters and planted 17-inch-row corn.
While they were excited by the prospects, they soon realized that 17-inch-row corn was difficult to maneuver within when they made post-emergence herbicide applications. They also didn’t like the need for a fertilizer knife every 17 inches for at-plant fertilizer placement.
The third negative was that the planter setup clashed with their goals to add more custom-planted acres.
“We didn’t know anybody with a combine head that is narrower than 30 inches, so we were basically committed to planting that corn for silage,” Eugene Lapp says.
By changing their planter setup to twin rows, the Lapps were able to meet their objectives of a narrow-row concept that provided flexibility to plant corn that could be harvested for grain or silage.
With the twin rows 8 inches apart, the Lapps are able…