If you’ve ever grown anything outdoors, you know that weather can either be a friend or a foe. The worst part is that you cannot predict weather with enough certainty to prepare for it and you certainly can’t control it.
One nice thing for modern growers is that technology is catching up to a point where unfavorable weather doesn’t necessarily have to result in lower yields. We already know that fertilizing and protecting crops from the beginning can get them off to a strong start, but what else can be done to prepare your crops for success?
At our LIFT Summit this past June, we had a chance to talk with Dr. Below about his thoughts on what high-yield trends are emerging for producers. He said that biologicals and biostimulants are continuing to evolve and that growers should learn a bit more about them and carefully test them out to see how they work within their operation. He also said that a savior for the modern grower could be using narrow rows allowing for higher plant populations.
Most current corn acres are planted in 30-inch rows. The concept of narrowing rows to 15 or 20 inches is not new, but many growers still remain skeptical. However, advancements like the development of hybrids made especially for high-density, narrow-row planting have provided for improved yields in some areas, leading more and more producers to understand that narrow row production can result in higher yield and better return.
Some, including Dr. Below, argue that narrow rows are going to be pivotal for achieving high crop yields in the future and that crop inputs including nutrient fertilization strategies make adjustments treat the plant vs treat the acre in order to compensate for smaller root systems and stalks that come with these higher populations.
Check out Dr. Below’s testimonial from the LIFT Summit:
I see a couple agricultural trends. I talked about biologicals and biostimulants – I think these are the next new things. I pointed out that growers have to be cautious about these, they have to test and learn from it. I think that narrow rows and more plants in the future is going to be a big trend, this is one of the things that we’re working on. If you think about the cornfield, it’s like a solar panel and each plant is a solar cell on that panel. Managing more plants, I think, is one of the major factors around higher crop yields.