Tuesday, November 14, 2006 - 8:30 AM

Planting Strategies Involving Skipped Rows to Improve Drought Tolerance in Rainfed Corn.

Robert Klein1, J.A. Golus1, David Baltensperger2, Drew Lyon3, Roger Elmore4, Stephen Mason5, Charles Shapiro6, Steven Knezevic6, Merle Vigil7, A.J. Schegel8, and Alexander Pavlista9. (1) Univ of Nebraska, 461 West University Drive, North Platte, NE 69101, United States of America, (2) University of Nebraska, 4502 Avenue I, Scottsbluff, NE 69361, United States of America, (3) University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Panhandle Res. & Ext. Ctr., 4502 Ave. I, Scottsbluff, NE 69361, (4) Iowa State Univ, 2104 Agronomy Hall, Ames, IA 50011, (5) Univ. of Nebraska, Dept. of Agron & Hort., PO Box 830915, Lincoln, NE 68583-0915, (6) Haskell Agricultural Laboratory, 57905 866 Rd., Concord, NE 68728-2828, United States of America, (7) USDA-ARS, C. Great Plains Res. Stn., 40335 County Rd. GG, Akron, CO 80720-1029, (8) Kansas State University Sw Res. & Ext. Ctr., Garden City, KS 67846, (9) 4502 Avenue I, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Nebraska, Panhandle Research @ Extension Center, Scottsbluff, NE 69361

Following are two quotes from this past summer which has been the typical comments on rainfed corn production in Central Great Plains starting in 2000. "Very few dryland corn fields will be harvested for grain" September 16, 2005 Crop Watch, Doug Anderson, Extension Educator in Nuckolls and Thayer counties and "We have been really dry down here this year and have just received rain in the last 2 weeks. I am convinced if we hadn’t planted skip row corn we wouldn’t have raised any corn" E-mail August 25, 2005 from Jack Maranville, Mathesen, CO 1,650 acres of skip row corn. The ideas behind skip-row planting is to keep developing corn plants from using all of the available water too early in the growing season. Because water in the soil between widely spaced rows can’t be reached by the plants until later in the season, there is water available to the plants in July and August. In 2004 and 2005 research trials were conducted at locations across Nebraska (Concord, Lincoln, Clay Center, North Platte, Hayes Center, Ogallala, Sidney, and Scottsbluff - reduced irrigation and rainfed) and Tribune, KS and Akron, CO. The treatments consisted of three corn populations and four skip-row configurations. The skip-row configurations are: no skip rows (control, a skip row every two planted rows, a skip row alternating with a planted row (single-skip), and two skip rows alternating with two planted rows (double-skip). At North Platte, NE in 2004 the plant two skip one yielded 107 vs. 97, 117 vs. 110, and 127 vs. 117 bu/A as compared to the solid planting at 12,000; 18,000 and 24,000 plants/acre. At Trenton, NE in 2005 the plant two skip two yielded10,000; 15,000;  and 20,000 plants/acre.