Field experiments were conducted at Harran Plain on a clay silt soil (Xerosol in FAO/UNESCO soil classification) in Southeast of Turkey in 1996 and 1997 to study the effects of cotton planting system, tillage method, and row spacing on the performances of cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.), such as seedling emergence and yield. The tillage methods evaluated were: traditional (inversion) with a mouldboard plough (M) and conservation (non-inversion) with chisel tine (C). The seedbeds studied were: normal planting system (NS) with no-ridging, and ridge planting system (RS). Results showed that mouldboard plough had slightly greater yield than chisel in each year but the difference was not significance in 1997. Non-ridging had the second best emergence rate and yield according to 2 years mean. Ridging with chisel in 70 cm row spacing produced the highest seedling emergence for both years, but the difference was not significance in 1997. The yields obtained for ridging with mouldboard plough from 70 cm row spacing in 1996, and for ridging with mouldboard plough from 76 cm in 1997 were superior to the other applications. Finally 70 cm row spacing produced the highest seedling emergence and yield in both years regardless of the treatment. Row spacing of 90 cm resulted in the lowest seedling emergence and yield in both years regardless of the treatment. The results indicate that ridging can be used instead of non-ridging with 76 cm row spacing (suitable for mechanical harvesting) which gave similar yield to the ridging with 70cm row spacing in 1997, and both of the planting systems with 76 cm seem to be suitable to mechanical harvesting. (C) 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.