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Crop Management Abstract - Symposium Proceedings: Plant Arrangement in Fields to Maximize Productivity

Reducing Row Widths to Increase Yield: Why It Does Not Always Work


This article in CM

  1. Vol. 5 No. 1
    Accepted: Jan 10, 2005

    * Corresponding author(s): Chad.Lee@uky.edu
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  1. Chad D. Lee *a
  1. a 1405 Veterans Drive, Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, University of Kentucky, Lexington 40546-0312


Numerous studies have been conducted to determine if decreasing row widths will increase yields of corn and soybean. Full-season corn (Zea mays) yields typically do not increase as row widths decrease south of 43°N latitude (about the Wisconsion-Iowa border extended east and west) in the United States. Soybean (Glycine max) yields follow a similar but less consistent trend. A corn or soybean crop must produce sufficient leaf area for maximum radiation interception just prior to or during flowering and seed set to achieve maximum yields. Full-season corn hybrids and soybean varieties at recommended plant densities in wide rows in the central and southern United States have ample time and heat units for crop growth to intercept maximum radiation prior to flowering, making narrow row widths unnecessary for maximum yields. Conversely, full-season corn and soybean in the northern United States and short-season corn and soybean in central and southern United States have limited time and heat units to reach maximum radiation interception prior to flowering. Based on these observations, wide rows for full-season corn and soybean in the central and southern United States are usually sufficient for maximum yields.

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