He chose twin rows on 36-in. centers at 34,000 plants/acre over single rows on 30-in. centers at 29,000 plants/acre.

Twin-row planting allows better plant distribution and earlier canopying over the row than is possible with single rows on 30-in. centers, he believes. His system includes strip-tillage ahead of planting to reduce rainfall runoff and evaporative losses. “I feel we’re growing better corn, because we’re getting less
runoff,” he says. That and reduced moisture evaporation from the earlier crop canopying in twin rows are especially important on the sandy soils on his farm, according to Kurz.

With this type of program, he says, a fungicide treatment is important, because of the crop residue on the soil surface. “The big disease for us is gray leaf spot,” he adds.

His twin-row patternat 34,000 plants results in an 11-in. plant spacing within the row. He strives for seed spacing that is staggered in one row with the seed spacing in the opposite twin row. That pattern minimizes root-ball overlap across the 8-in. spacing between the twin rows, as well as between plants within the row.

Kurz plants mostly 113-day corn, with some 100- to 108-day hybrids. Most of his twin-row soybeans are early Group 3 planted at 160,000 seeds/acre.

He strip-tills and plants his twin rows in the row middles of the previous crop on his pivot-irrigated and non-irrigated fields. “We’re planting around the trash, rather than through it,” he says.

On gravity-irrigated fields, however, he ridge-tills, planting in the previous twin-crop row area on the ridges to preserve the irrigation furrows in between.

In this sandy soil area where groundwater quality protection regulations restrict nitrogen (N) application timing, he applies some of his N as anhydrous ammonia with his strip-till pass in the spring. He applies 10-34-0 solution and thiosulfate with the strip-tillage pass about 10 days ahead of planting. Each row unit on his strip-tillage machine includes row cleaners, a coulter ahead of a chisel running about 9 in. deep (for anhydrous ammonia application), wavy coulters slightly angled to pull soil back over the chisel slot and rolling baskets.

He also applies fertilizer as in-row applications of 8-25-0, 28% N solution and sulfur with the planting operation. Kurz does this whether planting in the old rows in ridge-till or in the row middles under pivot irrigation. The balance of N goes on through a center pivot or sidedressed with a coulter machine.