Researcher Bob Recker acknowledges that wide-row corn isn’t going to be a commercial success anytime soon. But there’s plenty of potential in the unique cropping system as a pathway to increasing strip-tilled soil health.
A former ag engineer and current owner of Cedar Valley Innovation in Waterloo, Iowa, Bob began experimenting with 60-inch corn in 2017, plotting a course for plants to better harvest sunlight, and allow for more versatile seeding strategies with cover crops.
“This system can liberate half the ground for growing cover crops, a companion crop or maybe a grazing crop,” Recker says. “While we’ve not yet seen a yield increase with 60-inch rows, I am exploring higher and lower populations for a combination that will make it a yield advantage for a traditional grower, which should greatly encourage him to adopt cover crops in his practice.”
In today’s Strip-Till Farmer podcast, Bob shares how turning off every other row on your planter and doubling per row populations can create an accommodating environment for corn and cover crops, along with a candid look at some of the practical challenges — including weed control — that a 60-inch system can produce.
Strip-Till Farmer's podcast series is brought to you by Topcon Agriculture.
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