Kinze Manufacturing did their own survey last year. As a result, they're still emphasizing 30-inch row planters, but they're keeping an eye on 30 inch rows or narrower for he future.
Agronomists say 35,000 is about the limit in 30-inch rows before extra plants turn into weeds. The question is how will farmers move beyond 30-inch rows. Right now, according to their survey, about 85% are in 30-inch rows. Next most popular is 20 inches, or even 15. Some farmers have moved to 20-inhses, but the move has been relatively slow.
The move to twin rows, another concept, has been even slower. The idea in all these systems is to spread out plants as evenly as possible. Dave Nanda, Farm Progress crops consultant and former plant breeder believes the idea of twin rows, spaced either 5 or 7 rows apart, has great promise. Great Plains Manufacturing agrees, and reports sales of their planter that can plant twin rows continue to grow.
On the flip side, Kinzie isn't seeing the demand, and has actually pulled it's twin row model from the market. Officials note they'll continue to monitor it, but don't see it as a major player yet.
On the other hand, Monsanto sees twin rows as part of the technology that will help double yields of corn by 2030. The ag chemical giant insists that twin row planting may be part of the answer to reaching the goal. They believe a combination of new technology and adjusted cultural techniques ill lead to much higher yields.
Not everyone buys their theory that crop yields can double that quickly, but they paint a persuasive picture, and wrap it with such things as a concept planter that could change population row by row on the go. That would become useful if they collect enough data that shows that certain hybrids on certain soils across the field perform best.
They're busy collecting data now that they believe will someday help individual growers match hybrids and populations precisely to field conditions on their farm. In fact, they use a special planter for plant work and will collect data form a multitude of locations scattered across the Midwest. Sources indicate data collected will be proprietary, and would be available only to Monsanto seed customers.