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Discussion Board - Bean Row Spacing Question

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Author  [Modern View]

07-29-2012 10:08:54

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I like reading all the information on planting. I see bean rows spaced from 7" to 30. What is the criteria and advantages of closer or wider rows? Just curious? Is it more than just the difference between using a planter or a drill?


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07-30-2012 11:28:58

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 Re: Bean Row Spacing Question in reply to fergienewbee, 07-29-2012 10:08:54  
The further north you are located, lighter soils, and later planting/sowing typically benefit narrow rows. With wide rows a planter can save roughly 25% seed cost and seed has become expensive. Soybeans are very tolerant about depth and spacing, so despite the many ramblings how the planter gets every seed spaced correctly this advantage is mostly "bunk" unless you cut seed rates to the minimum. Then the planter has a distinct advantage. Also a lot easier to set a planter to a given population, unless the drill has seed belts. With my drill I can get the population set within 2% of desired seeding rate before going to the field. But tough to hit it exactly. Some claim too much seed damage with a fluted feed. My JD double run is better but I've also used an IH fluted feed and didn't notice excessive damage. Narrow rows will canopy sooner which likely allows less herbicide use, but the enusing restricted air movement can lead to white mold problems. Depends on your area and how much rain/humidity. The seed spacing in wide rows is usually closer which can help seed emergence if crusting occurs, more seeds pushing per foot the better chance in breaking the crust. Narrow rows are typically easier to harvest, feed more evenly. Many harvest wide rows at an angle so they feed more even and distribute wear across the cutter bar. Wide rows can be cultivated and much easier to avoid mashing the beans when spraying. Some just spray narrow beans at an angle which works well with drilled beans.

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Jim SC

07-30-2012 13:11:57

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 Re: Bean Row Spacing Question in reply to James22, 07-30-2012 11:28:58  
I'm educated in one paragraph!

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07-29-2012 14:01:38

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 Re: Bean Row Spacing Question in reply to fergienewbee, 07-29-2012 10:08:54  
My neighbors have gone in all directions at the same time, telling me there is no one best way.

Drilled will shade out weeds sooner, but takes more seed ($$$) and subject to white mold easier.

30 inch rows the planter iuses less seed, less disease, but a little tougher on the combine head and might take an extra spray pass. But - you don't run down the beans if you need to spray later for weeds, insects, or fungus.

I'm happy with the 15 inch rows I do, compromise of the 2.


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Jim SC

07-29-2012 13:49:10

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 Re: Bean Row Spacing Question in reply to fergienewbee, 07-29-2012 10:08:54  
We get better weed control with drilled beans as they canopy the quicker. Our 20 inch planter does a good job, but results over the last few years show us more money at harvest with drilled beans. Of course, we do not have a state of the art planter and results may vary. Maybe 16 inch rows with a good planter would improve results.
With that info, and two bucks, you could buy a big beer.

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07-29-2012 10:30:10

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 Re: Bean Row Spacing Question in reply to fergienewbee, 07-29-2012 10:08:54  
Grain drill has less accurate depth control than a row planter. Real narrow rows, especially in wetter ground, have a tendency for more white mold. Narrow rows canopy sooner than wide, covering the ground, so you have fewer late emerging weeds. Drilled vs rowed beans....easier to see the ground when combining...uniform sickle wear the entire cutting width. Can get uniform wear by combining rowed beans at an angle, instead of following the rows. That also gives tires less stubble damage, depending on wheel tread.

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