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New Way To Plant Corn
"Most farmers have never heard about this but it really works'' says plant breeder Kyle Smith of Beck's Hybrids who amazes visitors to his seed plots in Atlanta, Ind., with his "sideways" corn plots.
Smith has discovered a way to plant corn so that leaves run with the rows rather than across them, which lets more sunlight strike the plant. He runs side-by-side comparison plots. In the conventionally-planted rows, leaves intertwine between rows so thickly you can't see daylight when you look down between the rows. In the sideways-planted rows, only a few leaves poke out between rows and you can see a big patch of sky down at the end of them.
How does Smith make the corn plants grow sideways? The trick, he says, is how you place the seed in the furrow. If corn is planted in rows running north and south, and you face the flat sides of the seed east and west with the tip down, leaves will grow toward the middle of the rows. But if you turn the seed 90?, with the flat sides facing north and south and the tip down, the leaves will be oriented north and south and stay within the row.
"We haven't done any yield checks yet but the effect is like that on outside rows which get more sunlight and have been shown to yield 40 to 50 bu. more per acre," says Smith, who notes that so far as he knows no one has ever built a planter that'll plant seeds so they're all facing one direction. He plants his experimental plots by hand.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Kyle Smith, Beck's Hybrids, Rt. 2, Atlanta, Ind. 46031 (ph 317 984-3508).

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1987 - Volume #11, Issue #1