How Will In-Season Management of Corn Be Impacted By Narrower Row Spacing?

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Spent some time this week attending the Minnesota Crop Production Retailer's conference here in the Twin Cities. There were many of the same themes that permeated last month's North Central Extension-Industry Soil Fertility Conference, including plenty of discussion about getting the 4Rs right: right fertilizer, at the right rate, during the right time window, and in the right place.

There was a talk by Jeff Coulter of the University of Minnesota Extension discussing recent research on corn plant populations. A broad trend toward narrower rows is going to make in-season management, including sidedress nitrogen applications, much more challenging. There are trade-offs in every management choice, and it will be interesting to see how the advantages of shifting row spacing stack up against reduced in-season management options.

Thoughts?