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Old 10-12-2010, 11:09 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Row spacing in dryland corn?

We are new to growing corn for grain and are looking for opinions on row spacing (30 vs. 22 vs. 20) as we have not bought any row crop equipment yet. If this works we will be growing corn one in 5 years. We are planning on growing two different short season varietys: Pioneer 7213 and 7443 for a total of about 800 acres. We are in about a 2200 chu area and are normally limited by moisture. We tend towards narrower spacing in our air drills, but are open to whatever works the best for corn.

Also suggestions on equipment size and matching planter to header?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 10-12-2010, 12:22 PM   #2 (permalink)
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You should tell us where you are to help answer the question.

Other will be more knowledgeable than I, but given what you said about limited by moisture and short season corn, I'd do 30. But need a little more info.
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Old 10-12-2010, 01:09 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I have to disagree. Shorter widths will give a higher overall ground coverage, in my opinion, thus limiting evapouration potential.
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Old 10-12-2010, 03:04 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Probably true as long as you kept your population relative to it all. Around here, guys talk about narrower spacing for high pop and production, and I would think if you didn't have the moisture to capitalize on that it wouldn't be worth it. ****, I'm probably wrong on that account to. I will gracefully bow out now. . .
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Old 10-12-2010, 03:06 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Bottom line: 30in equipment is much more common, tends to be cheaper, and would likely be easier to get rid of if corn doesn't work out.

Not knowing a lot about your area I can't say anything for sure, but I'm willing to bet you won't see much yield difference between row spacing, especially if you're only growing it once every five years.
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Old 10-12-2010, 04:47 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by okpanhandle View Post
Bottom line: 30in equipment is much more common, tends to be cheaper, and would likely be easier to get rid of if corn doesn't work out.

Not knowing a lot about your area I can't say anything for sure, but I'm willing to bet you won't see much yield difference between row spacing, especially if you're only growing it once every five years.
I can definitely agree with you on all accounts there. I only figured that the 15-22" spacing would help conserve moisture. However, all depends on what that moisture would cost, ie. if it would justify the extra expense of narrow machinery.

I'm curious to know more about the localized region.
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Old 10-12-2010, 09:58 PM   #7 (permalink)
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We are at Minton, Saskatchewan. That is 10 miles north of the border, pretty much where ND and MT meet.

I was thinking about the narrower spacing for moisture conservation and seedbed utilization.

I think that the 30" equipment would be easier to source and dispose of if this doesn't work out. That is what the few guys in this area are using.

How do your corn yeilds compare to your wheat yeilds? The seed reps are telling us near double if we feed it right.

Thanks.
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Old 10-12-2010, 10:24 PM   #8 (permalink)
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We have a neighbor that has 30" equipment and it works well. They harvest it high moisture to pack into their silage pit. He likes 30 inch for lower equipment costs. Also, at the populations they plant (20 to 24 thousand I think), narrower rows really doesn't help. I think they are at about 14 inches between plants (probably can figure out the actual plant population from that number). At lower populations, a narrower row spacing makes the plants further apart in the rows but closer together row to row. It makes more sense to stay wider and have less row units per width of planter (i.e. a 12R30 vs 18R20 -both 30 ft, but 6 less units to wear out), and less units on the corn head.
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Old 10-12-2010, 10:38 PM   #9 (permalink)
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That's an awful low density. In northern AB for pasture grazing we're at 32 thousand, I would like to try 36 in the distant future.
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Old 10-12-2010, 11:55 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I would for sure go with 30". But I have to wonder why you would only grow it once every five years. I would think you will have a tough time paying for equipment with such low utilization. Maybe you could get away with just a used head and get the silage guys to plant your corn first. In your area there is no need to plant any more than 26 000 plants. Maybe even 24 000 is all you need to utilize the available moisture. 36 000 will grow lots of plant and not anymore grain than 26 000. You will also need a dryer, even in the good years the corn will still come off with high moisture. Corn yields can be easily double or triple wheat yields depending on the year. Last year it wasn't even double but the wheat was incredible. I've also seen 125bu corn come off right beside 38 bu. wheat. The next problem you are going to run into is trying to zero till it if that's what you are thinking. Corn does not like trash on top of the soil. I would also grow dekalb 26-78 it is every bit as early as 7213 and will dry down very well.
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