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Stine: Seeing benefits with Twin 20 rows

By Staff | Sep 10, 2014

MYRON STINE, vice president of sales and marketing for Stine Seed Co., examines an ear of corn in the company’s Twin 20 plot planted at the 2014 Farm Progress Show in Boone.

BOONE – Harry Stine, the founder and president of Stine Seed Co., based in Adel, has been a leading proponent for pushing yield potential of corn to its absolute maximum.

His message? The only way to reach 300-plus bushels per acre is to plant higher populations of corn.

A few years ago, his company proved that corn planted in 12-inch rows could be done, even with 50,000 plants per acre. Each plant had 10.4-inch spacing enough room for the right hybrid to hit at or exceed the 300-bushel threshold.

But at last week’s Farm Progress Show in Boone, the Stine booth was showing another configuration which appears to be as successful and more easily adaptable for growers called twin twenties.

This is a of pair corn rows, spaced 8 inches apart, on 20-inch centers. The plants in the twin rows are staggered so that a standard 20-inch combine head can pull the plants in.

“Sigulation is still important, but not as critical.” —Myron Stine Vice president of sales and marketing, Stine Seed Co.

According to Myron Stine, vice president of sales and marketing, twin twenties is looking to hit the 300-bushel mark, with added benefits including, 2 inches more of spacing between plants for better root growth, faster canopy closing to control weeds and applicable for harvest with 20-inch combine head.

“But you need the right genetics and the right population,” Stine said.

In this configuration, Stine said, spacing of seeds during planting is less of an issue, than in 30-inch rows with high populations.

“Sigulation is still important,” he said, “but not as critical. You have more margins for error.”

Sigulation is the term used for uniform seed spacing and planting depth.

Because of this, Stine said, corn and soybeans in the Twin 20 configuration can be planted at a faster speed.

He said planting in 30-inch row patterns is usually done at about 5 miles per hour. Twin twenties can be planted at 7.5 mph, a 30 to 35 mph increase.

“That’s a pretty good speed,” Stine said.

Of course with 10,000 or more plants per acre, nitrogen management is essential, he said.

“We do multiple nitrogen applications,” he said.

When asked about the added cost of more management and resulting profitability, Stine said, “We estimate that with 20 more bushels, a farmer will be OK.”

Concerning the interior temperature inside a corn field with 50,000 plants, Stine said the company’s research shows no significant difference than high-population 30-inch rows.

“If anything,” he said, “it might be cooler because the canopy develops earlier, blocking the dirt from gathering the sun’s heat and radiating less heat.”

On Aug. 21, in Farnhamville, a Twin 20 test plat at FC Cooperative was evaluated by Todd Claussen, FC Cooperative’s director of agronomy and technical services, during a test plot tour.

He said he’s undecided on the practicality of the Twin 20 method.

“Will it be profitable?” he asked in answering a question, “we’ll let you know after harvest because I don’t know.”

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