Inter-cropping could be a good bet
GROWING maize with sunflower, runner beans, or kale could produce a higher yield or higher protein content silage than maize alone.
According to inter-cropping research at CEDAR, University of Reading, combined yields were 13.2t DM/ha for maize and sunflowers harvested on Sept 10 and 15.5t DM/ha for maize and runner beans, harvested on Sept 22.
Researcher Julian Park says that the maize/sunflower and runner bean combinations presented no major harvest difficulties. Ease of maize/bean harvest, however, would have been improved by some form of side knife adaptation on the conventional maize header as the beans had straggled across adjacent rows of maize. The maize/kale combination suffered from weed competition and harvesting difficulties, although the latter may be overcome by the use of a kemper header on the forager.
The three intercrops were sown in early May using 100,000 seeds/ha (40,000/acre) of maize and either 200,000 kale seeds/ha, 25,000 sunflower seeds/ha or 50,000 runner beans/ha.
• Inter-cropping plots displayed at this years forage maize day – incorporating protein crops, at CEDAR on Thur, Sept 3.