Conditions within a narrow-row field could differ from the 30-inch growing environment enough to require changes, he adds. “How do we sidedress N? How do we spray narrow-row corn? Do we go with a skip row and controlled traffic?” asks Licht. “If we go to narrower rows, we will have to shift our thinking when it comes to general crop management.”

For example, preemergence weed control programs could become more critical because of the challenges of making follow-up applications in the emerged crop. But the crop likely would canopy earlier and effectively control late-emerging weeds earlier than in wider rows.

Differences in in-field airflow based on different spacing and shorter plant stature could affect disease and insect pressure – for better or for worse. “Would we have more diseases in corn, or would they be less problematic?” he asks. “We don’t know.”

Stine Seed says that management practices for ultra-narrow-row corn will have to be refined as more experience is gained. For now, the company recommends that growers testing the concept consider using a fungicide to combat possible heightened disease pressure.