Solberg on Soil: Wide-Row Corn for More Income, Soil Health?

Kent Solberg

Some recent thoughts on wide-row corn were recently discussed in Successful Farming Magazine. For producers with beef cattle, sheep or dairy replacement heifers, wide-row corn may be a more profitable way to use corn acres. Wide-row corn could be a means of developing 2-3 income streams from what was single-income acreage while increasing plant diversity, integrating livestock and keeping a living root in the soil longer than a corn crop monoculture.

While not covered in the article, some Minnesota growers have also been conducting trials comparing 40-44″ corn row spacing to 60″. They feel there is less potential for corn yield reduction in the 40-44″ row spacing. Corn hybrid selection can make a large difference, but breeding for wide-row planting is not a high priority for corn breeders at this time. Your seed supplier may be able to provide some guidance. Like with any new practice, conduct your own trials to determine what might work best in your context.