8 December 2000

Upping fresh weights

FRESH weight yields can be increased by drilling maize in narrower rows, but this is likely to be at the expense of starch yields, according to trials held at Holmstead Farm, Cuckfield.

Using a seed rate of 130,000/ha (52,000/acre), the conventional 76cm (30in) row trial yielded 50t/ha (20t/acre) fresh weight, whereas the closer 38cm (15in) row, planted with a Vaderstad corn drill, yielded 58t/ha (I23t/acre).

MGAagronomist, Simon Draper said that the Vaderstad drill leads to a more regular spacing, even though plants are unevenly spaced along the rows. "This encourages competition between plants for sunlight and nutrients so they grow more vigorously."

Higher fresh weight yields are also achieved because weeds are shaded out earlier by crop canopies in the narrow rows.

However, starch yield was greater in the conventional row trial. "Plants are less leafy and cobbier when wider apart," he said.

"These results give producers the option of planting to produce more fresh yield or a higher starch yield depending on their nutrition requirements."

Aiming for a high fresh weight yield may also reduce crop establishment costs.

using the Vaderstad drill were lower than the conventional option, with fewer cultivation passes needed.