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Agronomy Journal Abstract - Corn

Growth, Yield, Quality, and Economics of Corn Silage under Different Row Spacings


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 98 No. 1, p. 163-167
    Received: May 4, 2005

    * Corresponding author(s): wjc3@cornell.edu
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  1. William J. Cox *a,
  2. John J. Hancharb,
  3. Wayne A. Knoblauchc and
  4. Jerome H. Cherneya
  1. a Dep. of Crop and Soil Science
    b Northwest NY Dairy, Livestock, and Field Crops Cooperative Extension
    c Dep. of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY 14853


Corn (Zea mays L.) silage in the northeastern USA yields more in narrow (0.38 m) than conventional (0.76 m) rows. Dairy producers, however, have considered converting from conventional to twin rows (0.19 m on 0.76 m centers) because twin rows are more compatible than narrow rows for herbicide application on glyphosate-resistant corn. Two hybrids were planted in field-scale studies in New York in 2003 and 2004 to evaluate growth, yield, quality, and economics of corn silage under conventional, narrow, and twin row production systems. Narrow rows had greater dry matter yield (17.6 Mg ha−1) than twin (17.2 Mg ha−1) and conventional rows (16.6 Mg ha−1). Row spacing did not affect in vitro true digestibility. Narrow and twin rows had greater fixed and variable costs associated with equipment requirements. Partial budget analyses indicated greater expected increases in annual profit with the conversion from conventional to narrow rows for 262 ($18 201) and 525 ha ($38 317) or to twin rows for 262 ($8246) and 525 ha ($17 584) of corn silage. The use of glyphosate-resistant corn in twin rows may provide an advantage by delaying herbicide application until mid-June, thereby increasing the probability of a timely first harvest of perennial forages. Dry matter content at harvest averaged 326 g kg−1 in narrow versus 314 g kg−1 in twin rows, increasing the probability of corn silage harvest before a fall frost. Dairy producers should consider economics and timely harvests when considering corn silage row-spacing systems.

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