Using a skip-row configuration in arid environments has been a common management practice, especially for cotton.
Skip-row planting could be a beneficial practice for dryland corn in some environments.
Typical growing conditions in Central Texas could be conducive for a skip-row planting configuration in corn.
The objectives of this study were to determine if a 2-1 skip-row planting configuration has any advantages compared to solid planting of corn in Central Texas and to evaluate the optimal seeding rates of corn for skip-row compared to solid planting.
DEKALB® DKC67-42 brand SmartStax® corn was planted in 2017. DEKALB® DKC67-99 and DKC66-29 brand Trecepta® corn was planted at both locations in 2018, and the data was pooled across products and locations.
Solid planting was conducted on 30-inch rows using 6-row plots.
Skip-row planting was arranged using 6-row plots, with rows 2 and 5 unplanted.
Skip-row populations were on a per-acre basis, meaning that the seeding rates within a row were actually 1.5 times higher than corresponding within-row rates in the solid planting treatments.
Near optimal growing conditions in 2017 resulted in inordinately high dryland corn yields, while drought stress contributed to below average yields in 2018.
Under higher yielding conditions in 2017, solid planting out-yielded skip-row planting at all seeding rates (Figure 1).
Corn yield tended to increase with increasing seeding rate in the solid planting plots in 2017, with 36,000 seeds/acre producing the highest yield.
In contrast, solid planting resulted in equal to or slightly lower yields compared to skip-row planting at all seeding rates in 2018 (Figure 2).
Under lower yielding conditions in 2018, the seeding rate appeared to have minimal impact on yield, with a slight decrease in yield as seeding rate increased under solid planting.
With excellent growing conditions and extremely low drought stress, skip-row planting may not provide an advantage over solid planting of corn.
Although these results suggest that skip-row planting may have a slight yield advantage in a low-yielding environment, the yield deficit with this configuration in higher-yielding conditions probably makes this practice unfeasible for dryland corn production in Central Texas.