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The Manitoba Corn Initiative: Optimal corn row spacing

Crop Types
  • Corn
Collaborating Locations


Row spacing is an important agronomic management practice for corn production. Although the standard row spacing for corn is 30 inches, studies in the US and Ontario have identified corn hybrid responses to narrow, wide, and twined rows. Given the environmental and hybrid interactions observed in these studies, it is important to evaluate optimal row spacing in Manitoba using the short season hybrids and inbreds that are being developed for this shorter growing season environment. One particularly important observation from studies involving wide row spacing is the faster dry down of corn with wide row spacing. This could be an especially important agronomic management factor for corn production in Manitoba.


This project is a part of the larger Manitoba Corn Initiative - Corn Agronomy, fertility and agrometeorology. Overall objectives for the program include:

  1. Identify the best crops to grow prior to corn in a rotation
  2. Evaluate fertilization strategies for corn grown after canola
  3. Conduct an economic analysis of optimal crop rotations involving corn
  4. Identify optimum corn residue management strategies
  5. Evaluate fertilization strategies for alternative tillage systems for corn production
  6. Evaluate the corn heat unit system for Manitoba


A row spacing by population experiment was conducted at University of Manitoba’s research farm near Carman, MB in 2016 and 2017. In 2016, a July storm resulted in termination of the project. In 2017, the experiment treatments were adjusted to compare two row spacing at 22 and 30 inches for the same two hybrids (DKC27-55 and DKC 30-07) at a higher range of plant populations was evaluated (26000, 32000, 38000, and 44000, and 55000 seeds/ac). Corn yields were highest for the target plant population of 38,000 plants/ac (Appendix 2, Figure 7), but was not influenced by row spacing in 2017. Further study is required to confirm the results from 2017. Note: This study was continued for two further years for the project titled "Corn population and row spacing project"

Key Takeaways

  1. Over 1 year of study, a population of 38,000 plants/ac provided optimal yield.
  2. In 2017 there was no influence of row spacing on corn yield.
  3. Further study is needed. See MCA funded study titled: "Corn population and row spacing project"

Project Details

Principal Investigator
Dr. Derek Brewin
Project Status
Start Date
Completion Date
Funding Partners
MB Agriculture
Total Project Cost
MCA Funding

Field Issues

  • Seeding