Friday, March 12, 2010

Toongabbie Trial 2009-10

Planting corn trials, Toongabbie
Before leaving on my nuffield travels I decided that I would set aside some land for a summer trial. While sowing wheat, I left 1.5 ha unsown to create a long fallow for summer grains. The paddock I used had barley in it in 2008 and my first mistake (of many) was that I grazed that stubble, reducing ground cover and increasing surface compaction. Various hybrid seeds were acquired and planting began on the 28th of october (two weeks later than I hoped) with 4 maize hybrids at three populations. The first plants were out of the ground in 4 days, however some parts of the trial were planted too shallow - the disc seeder used was unable to penetrate some of the hardset land. Lesson number 1 is that we need to use controlled traffic (and no livestock) if disc planters are going to work. We also need to find a machine with a higher breakout.

Even Corn Emergence
The first photo shows the planter we borrowed, The second photo shows even emergence in one of the better parts of the trial. The third photo was taken on the 31st of December. The crop had grown really well until then when it was starting to show some moisture stress. It had 88mm of rain between planting and this photo.

Drought Stressed Corn, 31 Dec 2009

I planted some sorghum on the 16th of November. The sorghum was sown with our gyral airseeder, spearpoints on 300mm spacing. Four hybrids were sown with target plant populations of 40, 50 and 60,000/ha. 300mm is too narrow for these populations as the plants are more than 300mm apart within the row. There is also a lot of soil disturbance with the tynes. I will post some pics of the sorghum in a later post.

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