On-farm research at Morley led by John Myhill, agronomist with Horizon Agriculture Limited, has yielded important evidence for maize growers to take of heed of. He explains what his trial has uncovered about the true impact of the crop not getting off to a good start.
“Horizon’s Maize Emergence trial at Morley Farms has shown that uneven germination can have a significant impact on maize yields. In the trial, a 72-hour difference in emergence resulted in a 30% yield reduction in whole plant weight.
This means that in a whole field situation, the yield impact could be as significant as 15%. On a 40 t/ha crop, this equates to a loss of 6 t/ha.
Know what goes wrong pre-germination
There are several factors that can contribute to uneven germination, including:
- Improper planting depth
- Variable soil moisture and temperature
- Soil compaction
How to avoid uneven maize germination
The trial results are important for growers and contractors to be aware of. By understanding the impact of uneven germination on yields, they can take steps to maximise gross margins by reducing the risk of this problem by:
- Planting at correct depth
- Ensuring soil moisture and temperature are adequate
- Relieving soil compaction
More on maize growth was measured
My trial also found that there was no difference in the dry matter of plants that emerged at different times. Plus, the impact of uneven germination on yield was the same in silage (whole plant) and grain yield. This is likely because late-emerging plants have less time to grow and develop before pollination. As a result, they are less able to compete with early-emerging plants for resources such as light, water, and nutrients.”
On the left are day 1 emerged plant cobs, and on the right are day 4 emerged cobs- a 30% yield reduction seen.
Overall, Horizon’s maize emergence trial has provided valuable information on the impact of uneven germination on maize yields. Growers and Horizon can use this information to develop technology and planters to reduce the risk of this problem and maximise yields. Horizon’s PPX maize planter uses Precision Planting technology from America to help increase the speed of emergence and more even germination.