Company looks at putting rows of corn closer together for more p - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Company looks at putting rows of corn closer together for more production

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Blair (WQOW) - A western Wisconsin farm is a testing ground for a new method of planting. The goal is to increase corn production by reducing the space between rows of corn.

"We're taking corn away from being a row crop, and making it a solid-seeded crop," said Curt Forde, Profit Organics Owner.

Corn growers have always planted with a purpose.

"The original width of rows planted 100 years ago or 50 years ago were commonly 38-40 inches, and that was because they used to cultivate with a horse," Forde said.

But modern times mean machinery and with it, a chance to change how the seeds are sown.

"We equidistance our plants and we give them at least 12 inches in every direction to grow. They're actually going to have more room to grow than corn planted in a 30-inch row only six or six and a half inches apart," explained Forde.

The new method, which Profit Organics hopes will catch on, requires altering a regular planter.

"We set every other row unit six inches back, so when it shoots the eight seeds out, half of them are automatically planted on the front and half are planted in the back," Forde said.

The result?

"We achieve a population as high as 43,560 seeds an acre, where the normal population that's grown in the 30 inch rows is probably 34,000 plants per acre," said Forde.

Right now the farm in Blair is the only one squeezing rows together, but the plan is to expand the technique next year.

"We're going to be in around two dozen to three dozen farmers participating all the way from South Dakota to possibly as far as Indiana," Forde said.

Profit Organics says it plans to demonstrate a harvest on the new rows at the farm in Blair sometime in the next week or two. 

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