August 08, 2013
Great Plains’ Yield-Pro planters could help make British dairy farmers’ lives much simpler if the 10% yield improvement regularly achieved in the USA is repeated here.
So says Matthew Tapp, an agronomist from ProMaize, which is one of the partners with which the company is staging a range of field-scale trials across the South West of England:
“Many farmers are growing maize on expensive rented land some way from their farms, which is complicated and time consuming. If they could get higher yields per acre, in addition to the obvious financial benefits, they might be able to avoid growing so much on “off blocks”, which would also greatly reduce the time and cost of harvesting”.
The trial plots are comparing seed rates of between 36,000 and 52,000 seeds/acre, and also examining the value of splitting fertiliser applications, including injecting liquid nitrogen fertiliser at various different rates using a side dresser when the crop is at six/eight leaf stage:
“We are keen to see how agronomically different the Twin Row concept is. The Twin-Row plant stems look thicker than those sown in rows, and that normally translates into bigger cobs.
“Conventional practice is to put all the fertiliser in the seedbed at the time of planting, but the crop’s nitrogen requirement is greatest after it has reached the six/eight leaf stage, so we’re keen to see what advantage we might get from splitting the fertiliser and injecting part of it once the crop has reached that growth stage.
“We are trialling this different fertilizer regime against conventionally drilled plots planted alongside the Twin-Row plots”.
James Kissock, Great Plains Territory Manager, says the full set of trials, being competed on three sites spread across South West England, will provide a lot of information on both the planter and the technique it uses:
“We will be very interested to see how all these plots yield. Producing an extra 10% maize yield off any given acreage could take a lot of pressure off many dairy farms, enabling them to optimise their production of home-grown forage”.