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At the research farm—

By Staff | Jun 5, 2009

Setting up the planter is Doug Jennings of Great Plains Manufacturing for a twin row planted corn study at the research farm just south of Calumet.

CALUMET – Corn planted May 4 at the Northwest Iowa Research Farm, managed by Iowa State University, may have a few people scratching their heads when it emerges from the soil. The corn was planted in two rows, each eight inches apart on a 30-inch row spacing.

“This twin row study used three hybrids with four different population settings,” said Ryan Rusk, farm superintendent. “The theory behind the study is that double-row planting may yield better.”

Instead of planting two rows that close together requiring a two-trip pass, a special planter, designed by Great Plains Manufacturing, was implemented. The planter uses a modified finger pickup. It is not a vacuum or drill, but one that is still in a testing phase.

Doug Jennings, of Salina, Kan., brought the Great Plains YP1025TR twin-row plot planter to Calumet for its initial test.

“This was the first planting for the twin row planter,” said Josh Sievers, ag specialist. “The studies are randomly placed throughout the Corn Belt. The study here at the Calumet research farm is a joint effort between Iowa State University, Monsanto and Great Plains.”

Studies like this have been done before, but not with specialized equipment. Previously, one row of corn would be planted with another row planted at a predetermined space apart. It is the use of the twin-row planter that makes this study so unique, Sievers said. Still in the testing phase Great Plains YP1025TR is employing a new concept when it comes to planting corn.

“The planter has been set up to plant the two rows in a staggered fashion,” said Sievers. “With its metering system it can plant each seed equally spaced apart.”

The plots are 10-by-240-feet long. It took seven hours to plant the approximate six acres for the study. Each hybrid population was planted three different times with conventional spaced corn of the same population contiguous. The populations used were 28,000, 33,000, 38,000 and 43,000 seeds per acre, explained Rusk.

Nitrogen and herbicides were pre-applied. Throughout the growing season, data will be gathered for emergence, lodging, stalk health, with a strong interest in yield. Rusk stated that closer planted corn plants can show signs of stress, so it will be interesting to see if the staggered planting minimizes that.

This fall the study participants hope to answer questions pertaining to yield, such as, do higher planting populations yield greater? Does staggering the plants increase yield? If so, is there enough to justify the purchase of a new planter?

Contact Renae Vander Schaaf by e-mail at renaefarmnews@gmail.com.

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