Stine Seed Company's exploration of 12-inch row corn is attracting a lot of attention from growers and industry leaders. Last year, Stine planted 2,300 acres of corn and 100 acres of soybeans in 12-inch rows.
Even with 2012's drought conditions, results were impressive, reaffirming Stine's belief that using space more efficiently, coupled with the right hybrids, will shape the future for higher corn yields.
To take this concept to the next level, this year Stine is planting 15,000 acres of corn and soybeans at the Stine Farm near Adel, Iowa, in 12-inch rows. Machinery specially customized for this effort includes modified planters, corn heads, sprayers and special floatation tractor tires that operate with just five pounds of air pressure.
"At Stine, we're always looking for the next step to improving yields, and we think the answer is hybrids with the right genetics to perform in high populations," says Stine Vice President of Sales and Marketing Myron Stine.
"Growers want to produce more yield per acre, and we're pushing the envelope to find ways to do that. One of the keys to high density production is working in narrower rows."
With increasing interest in the 12-inch rows, Stine will plant between 50 and 70 12-inch row corn demo plots (as weather and logistics allow) across the Corn Belt to demonstrate how high density planting, coupled with selecting the right genetics, can help growers reach the maximum yield potential for their fields. The plots are designed to provide growers a glimpse of the future direction in crop production.
"We're not telling anyone to go to 12-inch rows today," says Stine. "However, we do believe that's where corn production is heading, and we plan to be the ones leading the innovation."
Stine has identified its highest performing hybrids for high population situations. Both are medium stature hybrids with good stress tolerance and excellent stalks and roots.
These hybrids will be planted in many of the demo plots, along with a selection of seed genetics that are not suitable for higher populations. The intent is to demonstrate to growers how some genetics are more suitable than others for high populations and why proper hybrid selection is critical.
A complete listing of demo sites will be made available on Stine's web site.
The following is a list of anticipated locations for 12-inch corn row demo plots:
Illinois: Griggsville; Hamilton; Brimfield; Bloomington; Cabery; Piper City; Breese; Litchfield; Greenfield; Casey; Marshall; Taylorville; Pawnee
Indiana: Windfall; Roann; Keystone; Dunkirk; Sheridan; Holland; Urbana; Alexandria; Portland
Iowa: Alton; Rembrandt; Farnhamville; Paton; Earlham; Yale; Jamaica; Lytton; Early; Plainfield; Ackley; Britt; Rake; Carroll; Scranton; Oakland; Graettinger; Hartley; Sheldon; Harlan; Hills; Wilton; Osage; Iowa Falls; Winterset; Ankeny; Knoxville; Hanlontown; Jewell
Kansas: Girard; Richmond; Valley Falls; Osborne; Winchester
Michigan: Vermontville; Breckenridge
Minnesota: Wilmont; Redwood Falls; Sleepy Eye
Missouri: Sikeston; Hardin; St. Charles; Columbia; Smithville; Barnard; Bigelow; Laddonia
Nebraska: Hubbard; Ashland
Ohio: Hamler; Delphos; Hickville; Marion
South Dakota: Baltic