Two-In-One Skip Row Cotton Evaluations

Growers are interested in standardizing row spacing across crops. This would help to: optimize grain yields and production systems, maintain the viability and yield potential of cotton, and allow easier growth control in cotton. This trial was initiated in response to grower questions about various cotton row spacing options and configurations.

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Study Guidelines 

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A demonstration trial was conducted in 2011 at the Monsanto Learning Center near Scott, Mississippi to compare 3065533;?, 2:1 skip row planting systems to 3865533;? solid row planting systems in cotton. The trial evaluated multiple cotton varieties at different plant populations.

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Five cotton varieties, with maturities ranging from early to late, were planted on April 19, 2011 and harvested in late September. Three plant populations were used and are shown in Table 1. Agronomic management, in general, was similar to the local standard. The exceptions to this were seeding rate and the rates and timing of plant growth regulator (PGR) application(s). PGR (4.2% mepiquat chloride; .35 lb. active ingredient per gallon) was applied as needed per label recommendations on three different dates (Table 2). In an effort to allow for larger, more vegetative, plants which are able to compensate for the skipped row, PGR applications were delayed in the skip row planting systems. In addition, the PGR rates were as much as 50% lower in the 2:1 skip row planting systems compared to the 3865533;? solid row plantings. This compensation is critical in the 2:1 skip row planting configuration to help achieve yield potentials that are competitive with the 3865533;? solid row configurations.Plants per row foot for each planting population and planting system.

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Plant height and yield data were both collected from the trial. Table 3 lists plant height and yield data by variety, plant population, and row configuration.

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Results

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Across populations, plant heights were similar even with reduced amounts of PGR in the 2:1 skip row plantings. This indicates a potential for less intense agronomic management in a 2:1 skip row planting scenario. However, monitoring and appropriate management will still be necessary. In addition, locally adapted varieties appear to do well in both row configuration planting systems. Growers should consider these factors when selecting varieties and/or production systems. The use of a 2:1 skip row planting system in cotton production could allow for advantages over solid row systems and be compatible with grain crops on 3065533;? rows.Mepaquat chloride plant growth regulator application, as needed, shown by date and rate.

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Contrary to some popular beliefs, this protocol demonstrates it may not be the case that 2:1 skip row plantings could save seed and technology fees for Genuity® Bollgard II® Cotton with Roundup Ready® Flex Cotton because less seed is planted. In this study, three plant populations were evaluated for yield potential in both the 2:1 skip and solid planted system. All planted populations in the 2:1 skip row pattern resulted in denser finished stands due to the increased seeding rate per foot of planted row. In effect, we have placed the unplanted seeds which would have been on the skipped row back into the two planted rows in the 2:1 skip. This increased density allows the 2:1 skip row the chance to compensate for the skips with potentially more fruiting positions per foot of planted row.Yield comparisons by variety, plant population, and row configuration.

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The information discussed in this report is from a single site, nonreplicated, one-year demonstration. This informational piece is designed to report the results of this demonstration and is not intended to infer any confirmed trends. Please use this information accordingly.