Skip-row planting gaining popularity | TSLN.com

Skip-row planting gaining popularity

Loretta Sorensen

Photo by Loretta SorensenSkip-row planting is gaining popularity with dryland corn producers because research has demonstrated that average yields can be increased with the practice. Researchers recommend that farmers utilize the planting method on small plots of ground before implementing it on a larger scale.

Skip-row planting can increase yields and increase drought tolerance, but the practice won’t work on just any field and since weed control is an essential part of success with skip-row farming, Roundup Ready corn is essential.

That’s the advice of Extension Cropping Systems Specialist Robert Klein at the University of Nebraska in Platte. Klein says adequate residue, preferably wheat harvested with a stripper header, is one of the main requirements for producing satisfactory yields in a skip-row corn field.

“Wheat straw residue, if it isn’t chopped too finely, lasts for a long time and has a high carbon/nitrogen ratio,” Klein says. “Any crop residue that goes through a combine is pretty fragile. With skip-row, you want that residue on the soil surface as long as possible.”

Klein says farmers need to use residue to reduce the E in ET if they want to be successful with skip-row planting. Crop water use or evapotranspiration (ET) is the sum of evaporation and transpiration. Evaporation is water lost to the atmosphere from the ground surface, which plays an important role in skip-row practices.

“In conventional planting with irrigated corn on bare soil, one-third of the crop water is evaporated,” Klein says. “In skip-row planting, evaporation can kill you because you don’t have the same crop canopy as a conventional field. Good crop residue probably cuts that evaporation in half and heavier residue may reduce it even more.”

Suppressing weeds is also important in skip-row practices. Klein’s research at UNL has demonstrated that substantial crop residue results in 80 percent fewer weeds than in a bare-ground field. While Klein doesn’t recommend regular use of reduced herbicide applications, he says weeds can be controlled with the lower application rates more effectively in fields containing adequate residue.

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“To make skip-row a viable option, you have to have good crop residue and weed control,” Klein says. “If you’re getting less than 100 bushel corn in your area, then skip-row would probably increase your yield. We’ve seen yields increase from 40 up to 80 and from 165 to 190 with skip-row farming.”

Some of Klein’s documented increased yield averages include comparisons between solid planting at 15,000 population that yielded 138 bushel corn and skip-row planting at 15,000 population in the same field that resulted in 149 bushel yields with plant two-skip-one planting. Corn acres that yielded 163 bushel with conventional planting at 22.5 population increased to 183 bushel with plant-two-skip-one. Corn acres with 30,000 population and conventional planting yielded 165 bushel and increased to 190 bushel with plant-two-skip-one.

Skip-row planting can increase yields and increase drought tolerance, but the practice won’t work on just any field and since weed control is an essential part of success with skip-row farming, Roundup Ready corn is essential.

That’s the advice of Extension Cropping Systems Specialist Robert Klein at the University of Nebraska in Platte. Klein says adequate residue, preferably wheat harvested with a stripper header, is one of the main requirements for producing satisfactory yields in a skip-row corn field.

“Wheat straw residue, if it isn’t chopped too finely, lasts for a long time and has a high carbon/nitrogen ratio,” Klein says. “Any crop residue that goes through a combine is pretty fragile. With skip-row, you want that residue on the soil surface as long as possible.”

Klein says farmers need to use residue to reduce the E in ET if they want to be successful with skip-row planting. Crop water use or evapotranspiration (ET) is the sum of evaporation and transpiration. Evaporation is water lost to the atmosphere from the ground surface, which plays an important role in skip-row practices.

“In conventional planting with irrigated corn on bare soil, one-third of the crop water is evaporated,” Klein says. “In skip-row planting, evaporation can kill you because you don’t have the same crop canopy as a conventional field. Good crop residue probably cuts that evaporation in half and heavier residue may reduce it even more.”

Suppressing weeds is also important in skip-row practices. Klein’s research at UNL has demonstrated that substantial crop residue results in 80 percent fewer weeds than in a bare-ground field. While Klein doesn’t recommend regular use of reduced herbicide applications, he says weeds can be controlled with the lower application rates more effectively in fields containing adequate residue.

“To make skip-row a viable option, you have to have good crop residue and weed control,” Klein says. “If you’re getting less than 100 bushel corn in your area, then skip-row would probably increase your yield. We’ve seen yields increase from 40 up to 80 and from 165 to 190 with skip-row farming.”

Some of Klein’s documented increased yield averages include comparisons between solid planting at 15,000 population that yielded 138 bushel corn and skip-row planting at 15,000 population in the same field that resulted in 149 bushel yields with plant two-skip-one planting. Corn acres that yielded 163 bushel with conventional planting at 22.5 population increased to 183 bushel with plant-two-skip-one. Corn acres with 30,000 population and conventional planting yielded 165 bushel and increased to 190 bushel with plant-two-skip-one.

Skip-row planting can increase yields and increase drought tolerance, but the practice won’t work on just any field and since weed control is an essential part of success with skip-row farming, Roundup Ready corn is essential.

That’s the advice of Extension Cropping Systems Specialist Robert Klein at the University of Nebraska in Platte. Klein says adequate residue, preferably wheat harvested with a stripper header, is one of the main requirements for producing satisfactory yields in a skip-row corn field.

“Wheat straw residue, if it isn’t chopped too finely, lasts for a long time and has a high carbon/nitrogen ratio,” Klein says. “Any crop residue that goes through a combine is pretty fragile. With skip-row, you want that residue on the soil surface as long as possible.”

Klein says farmers need to use residue to reduce the E in ET if they want to be successful with skip-row planting. Crop water use or evapotranspiration (ET) is the sum of evaporation and transpiration. Evaporation is water lost to the atmosphere from the ground surface, which plays an important role in skip-row practices.

“In conventional planting with irrigated corn on bare soil, one-third of the crop water is evaporated,” Klein says. “In skip-row planting, evaporation can kill you because you don’t have the same crop canopy as a conventional field. Good crop residue probably cuts that evaporation in half and heavier residue may reduce it even more.”

Suppressing weeds is also important in skip-row practices. Klein’s research at UNL has demonstrated that substantial crop residue results in 80 percent fewer weeds than in a bare-ground field. While Klein doesn’t recommend regular use of reduced herbicide applications, he says weeds can be controlled with the lower application rates more effectively in fields containing adequate residue.

“To make skip-row a viable option, you have to have good crop residue and weed control,” Klein says. “If you’re getting less than 100 bushel corn in your area, then skip-row would probably increase your yield. We’ve seen yields increase from 40 up to 80 and from 165 to 190 with skip-row farming.”

Some of Klein’s documented increased yield averages include comparisons between solid planting at 15,000 population that yielded 138 bushel corn and skip-row planting at 15,000 population in the same field that resulted in 149 bushel yields with plant two-skip-one planting. Corn acres that yielded 163 bushel with conventional planting at 22.5 population increased to 183 bushel with plant-two-skip-one. Corn acres with 30,000 population and conventional planting yielded 165 bushel and increased to 190 bushel with plant-two-skip-one.