What is in this article?:
- Narrow-row corn boosts yields for North Carolina growers
- John Deere system
- Makes harvest easier
• It looks like the corn starts off slow, then boom — it takes off and it looks like the ground is covered quicker than with wider row spacings.
DAVID PARKER, right and Steve Parker grew 268 bushels of corn per acre in 2012, using DeKalb 6469 hybrids and planting in 15-inch rows.
John Deere system
They use a John Deere CCS Seed Delivery System, which Parker says is very efficient and in the long-run saves them a lot of time and costs they used to incur changing from 30 inch spacings for corn to 15 inch spacings for soybeans.
Using narrow row spacings for corn isn’t for everybody, Steve Parker notes. “In our case, we were going to have to replace our 30-inch header anyway, and after talking to a lot of people we made the decision to replace our worn out header with a 15-inch header.
“Making the change just to get to narrow-rows might not be the best economic move to make, because the new headers can be very expensive, the North Carolina grower says.
This year David Parker says the narrow system, especially the vertical-tillage tool came in real handy to warm up the soil enough to plant corn. Still, he says, they had to come back and replant sections of some fields — a rare thing on their Union County farm.
Last year, when they produced their county record 268 bushels per acre, they planted corn in late March. This year they couldn’t even get on most of their fields until mid-April and later in some cases.
“We had the coldest spring in 70 years, according to weather reports and fifth coldest March in history.
“Switching to 15-inch rows and a few other tweaks to our corn production system has helped us push our farm-wide yields up over the past few years, but none of that matters much, if Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate — not when you’re growing dryland corn in the Piedmont of North Carolina,” Steve Parker says.
Even so, he says the narrow-row system they use makes it easier to replant in small sections of a corn field, if weather forces you to do so.
Many of their fields have irregular shapes and the new planting system allows them to plant and harvest their corn at different angles.