9th May 2017
A Vaderstad Tempo V was used on Friday (5 May), to drill maize on the Lincolnshire farm which is taking part in the 2017 KWS seed rate trial. Host farmer, Alistair Hall-Jones, has provided a trial plot in which the variety, Autens KWS, has been sown at five different seed rates, ranging from 85,000 seeds/ha to 110,000 seeds/ha. It will be followed through to harvest, to find out whether a lower seed rate, which gives individual plants greater access to sunlight, will translate into improve starch yields and an earlier harvest date.
Mr Hall-Jones grows 80ha of maize at Hare Hills Farm near Spilsby, to use alongside pig farmyard manure and slurry in his anaerobic digester (AD). He has been using a standard seed rate of 112,000, since the plant was built in 2014.
“There is information to suggest that a lower seed rate will increase the cob size and this trial will help to pinpoint the optimum rate for cob size and total fresh weight per hectare. It will also be interesting to see what effect, if any, it has on the maturity of the crop.” says Mr Hall-Jones, whose farm sits at 1 to 90 metres above sea-level. It covers a wide range of soil types, from light sandy soils and black fen soils to deep, silty clays near the coast.
“I will be using a rate of 112,000 seeds/ha of Autens KWS on a commercial scale on the heavier land, where establishment can be challenging. It would be useful to have an early harvest on these fields.
“However, I will be trialling 105,000 seeds/ha on the lighter land, for which I have chosen Aurelius KWS. Some parts of the lighter soils on the farm have been down to continuous maize, although I am now rotating sugar beet and some winter barley.
“Last year I drilled Kontender KWS and it did well, yielding an average of 45 freshweight tonnes per hectare, but I understand that the variety has been overtaken, in terms of its genetic potential.† I am looking forward to seeing the trial plot results and the figures that are produced may influence my decision on seed rate for the 2018 season.”