Narrow row corn

By Victor Gomes, Wanderson Novais, Alex Lindsey, Osler Ortez, Peter Thomison, Ohio State University Extension

Optimizing corn yields involves considering various factors such as planting date, relative hybrid maturity group, row spacing, plant population, and other crop inputs. Growers, facing the challenge of unpredictable weather and the annual introduction of new products and hybrids, are continually seeking ways to enhance yields and improve operational efficiency. In recent years, there has been interest in producing narrow row hybrid corn, however, the availability of agronomic recommendations for modern hybrids is limited. 

To address this issue, researchers from the Ohio State University conducted a series of trials looking at various factors associated with narrow row corn production. These factors included hybrid selection, population density and documenting potential disease issues and response to foliar inputs of nitrogen and fungicide. The trials were conducted from 2016-2018 in two sites (South Charleston, high yield potential, and Hoytville, lower yield potential). For all trials, the row widths were 30-inch (conventional) and 15-inch (narrow). 

Based on the results from these studies, current agronomic recommendations related to hybrid relative maturity selection, seeding rate, and foliar input management were similar for 15-inch row spacing as compared to 30-inch row spacing. Conversion to narrow rows resulted in a negligible to modest grain yield (0-4%) and forage (0-11%) increases compared to conventional row spacing and may be insufficient to offset costs for conversion. For more details, please visit our new factsheet detailing these studies and their results:

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