Strategies for maize sowing
Maize is sown in Central Europe towards the end of April, once the soil temperature reaches around eight to ten degrees Celsius. This temperature range is ideal for maize seed germination. Sowing maize too early can have a negative effect on crop emergence. On the other hand, waiting too long for the right moment and sowing maize late shortens the growing season and minimises yields. For this reason, the right time to sow maize is always a compromise between a longer growth period and the ideal soil temperature. The maize variety selected for sowing should also be tailored to the specific local conditions and type of use. The demands on the soil are relatively minimal because maize plants are very efficient at utilising the available resources. When sowing maize, it should always be ensured that the seedbed has a fine, homogeneous tilth so that the seeds have sufficient soil contact. In addition to the soil conditions, the weather conditions are also crucial. The long-term average of the accumulated temperature and amount of rainfall are used as reference points for this. In order to prevent the soil from drying out, direct sowing can be used. Additional factors to consider when sowing maize and choosing a variety are the yield parameters. Grain maize is bred to produce above-average results and is very successful in this regard. Maize for silage, on the other hand, produces good dry matter yields and corresponding levels of starch and energy per hectare. The suitability for ensiling is also something to consider when sowing maize, as high dry matter contents in both the grain and the plant are needed for ensiling. A crop that has dried out prematurely and excessively dry, hard grains are difficult for animals to digest, so this reduces the feed value of the silage. For distinct growing seasons that require plants to stay greener for longer, a ‘stay green’ variety can be selected for maize sowing. These varieties offer a wider harvesting window and are ideal for growing maize for silage in dry locations. For grain maize, on the other hand, ‘dry down’ variants are used. They ripen faster and have a narrower time frame for harvesting. Dent maize offers an optimum combination of grain ripening, a good suitability for ensiling and ration digestibility. In order to verify the success of maize sowing, good cultivation management and precise crop monitoring are required. For optimum visibility, the entire harvesting crew’s activities can be documented and each trailer load can be retraced. 365FarmNet’s software solutions and 365Active System hardware components enable maize harvests to be recorded with the help of a harvest transport protocol. Records are allocated to each field and supplemented by the telemetry data from the harvesting equipment. This enables farm managers to assess their cultivation strategy and measure the success of their maize crop.