The concept of wide-row corn can seem counterintuitive at first. Why would you make it harder to achieve optimal yields of your primary crop in order to get more production out of your cover crops? Well, collecting the data on these tradeoffs is exactly what today’s guests have been doing - and they have some very interesting results to share. In fact, you’re going to hear varying levels of success with this system, and I think leave this episode with a very realistic sense of what you may be getting yourself into if you try it. Once again, this audio was taken from the DIRT Workshop this past fall. Go check out the youtube links and other podcasts to take advantage of this amazing resource on soil health!
Today you’ll hear from:
“I guess from my perspective, I still see a lot of potential in the system. If we work on the input management and try to economically make the systems a little more equal then maybe we don’t have to get up to the same yield and still make it pencil out just as well.” - Dr. Mike Ostlie
Both Dr. Ransom and Dr. Briese saw a significant decrease in yield that would not be financially sustainable in their current form. Dr. Briese even remarked that producers should be “careful if you try this.” Where the real potential in this system lies is in the integration of livestock according to Dr. Ostlie and Dr. Briese. This allows for additional value in the system by adding another revenue source. Dr. Ostlie goes on to add another benefit this system may afford producers.
“This is really turning out to be probably one of the most flexible options we have in North Dakota and that's because it allows us to go in there with one or maybe even two herbicide applications in our corn post emergence before we even plant the cover crop. …. It allows us to start with a clean slate in the corn.” - Dr. Mike Ostlie
The system itself is still being defined and developed. All three of our panel agronomists acknowledge that while this is a complicated protocol to use, there is potential for its success for certain operations. At this time more research is needed and planned to fine-tune planting wide row corn.
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