Are narrower rows the way forward in the quest to achieve higher yields and maximize soil productivity? Possibly. Increased seedbed utilization as it relates to root growth and fertilizer distribution can play a significant role in crop development and may even increase yields. The key is in the decreased plant density — more plants per foot of row in any cropping system means plants are compete aggressively with each other for nutrients, causing compressed plant root systems (there are great examples of this in the video below).
In this episode of In the Dirt, Salford’s Jim Boak uses an experimental corn crop to illustrate how narrow rows can actually give plants more room to develop and make better use of the natural resources available to any type of crop. In the example in the video, Boak discusses using 7.5″ rows, but anything less that 15″ rows offers the benefits of “narrower row spacing” for this discussion.
If you cannot see the embedded video, click here.