Benefits of Skip Row Farming for Cotton Production

Cotton producers are constantly looking for new ways to keep their current yields steady while cutting down on expenses. One of the best means of accomplishing this is through skip row production.

There has been a lot of research into the effectiveness of skip row farming over the years for various types of crops. Cotton has been put through some skip row studies ever since the late 1950s, with one particularly noteworthy study published in Georgia in 1967 indicating just how well cotton can respond to skip row processes.

From 1959 through 1964, 2×2 skip row cotton provided higher yields versus solid-planted cotton on a planted-row acre basis (as opposed to an area acreage basis). The research indicated cotton bolls were larger and had longer fibers when grown in the skip row format. However, the micronaire and strength were not affected compared to conventional configurations.

Studies continue to this day

Researchers continue to study the effectiveness of various farming methods for cotton, including the skip row farming system. Some research has shown that the benefits of skip row cotton can include reduced stress during times of rain deficits because of increased moisture, as well as a greater yield on a planted-row acre basis, better fiber quality and increased light interception and airflow.

While some studies have indicated skip row farming can reduce input costs, it should be noted that this might not come without sacrificing the yield of the crop on a land-acre basis. Some studies performed by Australian researchers show yields of 18 percent higher for solid-row patterns than cotton planted in 2×2 or 2×2 skip row patterns on a land-acre basis.

More recent studies have also been performed in the United States and focused primarily on yield. A 2005 study in Texas analyzed the seeding rates in both 2×1 skip row and solid planting in cotton harvested by strippers. When moisture was limited and yields were low, the highest lint yields and net values for every acre were seen in the 2×1 skip row plantings that had 40-inch spacing between rows.

There are many other reports in which skip row cotton yields were lower than the yields from solid-planted cotton when using similar row widths on a land-area basis. Here again, the primary difference is that skip row cotton often results in a higher yield on a planted-acre basis, but it tends to be harvested land acres that are used as the basis for most comparisons.

If you’re interested in learning more about the best practices for farming and harvesting your cotton crops, or are in the market for cotton picker parts that will help you enjoy a productive harvest, we strongly suggest you contact us at Certi-Pik, USA and we will be happy to provide you with some advice based on your situation and the machines you’re using. We have been working in the cotton picking and planting industry for years and are pleased to be of assistance to cotton pickers in any way we can. We look forward to connecting with you and answering any questions you have for us.