Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/2/2006
Publication Date: 1/30/2007
Citation: Vigil, M.F., Henry, W.B., Klein, B. 2007. Skip-row Planting: A Strategy for Stabilizing Dryland Corn/Sorghum Yields. Proceedings of the Colorado Conservation Tillage Association and National Sunflower Association 19th High Plains No-Till Conference. January 30-31, 2007. Island Grove Regional Park. Greeley, Colo. Pages Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: A stable market demand for corn and other feed grains in the Central Great Plains provides an incentive to develop sustainable dryland corn production systems for the region. However, yields are commonly reduced by moisture deficits that occur during the critical period (silking/pollination) for grain development. A wide row, skip-row method of planting has shown drought mitigating advantages wherein water stored in the soil in the middle of the wide rows serves as a reserve during the critical period. The objective of this research is to quantify yield differences between skip-row planting methods and conventional planting under different plant populations. Three skip-row methods: plant two rows, skip two rows (P2S2), plant one row skip one row (P1S1) and plant two skip one row (P2S1) were compared to conventional planting on 30 inch rows. All planting methods were compared under three plant populations of 8, 12 and 16 thousand plants per acre in a complete factorial randomized complete block design over a three year period. In general, we have measured a yield increase with P2S2 and P1S1 over conventional planting. The yield enhancement ranges between 5 and 27 bushels and averages 12 bushels. The advantage of P2S2 and P1S1 over conventional planting tends to manifest when yields are low (less than 70 bushels). We measured the skip-row advantage in both corn and sorghum. Soil moisture monitoring indicated water was being left behind in soil in the middles of the P2S2 skip area. Whereas the P1S1 middles water was depleted to a degree nearly equivalent to conventionally managed corn.