“Decisions about which variety to grow, the appropriate seed rate and the optimum harvest date greatly influence the return on investment in a maize crop and our new app will help farmers make the best decisions, whether they’re growing for forage or AD,” comments Tim Richmond. LG Maize Manager UK and Ireland.
Suitable for android and IOS phones, and down loadable from both the Apple and Google Play stores, the app is designed to be quick and easy to use and is subdivided into four sections.
Of immediate interest is the Harvest Manager section which assesses the condition of the crop and advises on target harvest date to ensure the crop is cut at the optimum dry matter to maximise feed values and fermentation quality.
A separate assessment is made of the dry matter of the cob and of the stem, the app will then determine if the crop is ready for harvest and recommend a cutting date. If
harvest is not imminent, the app uses postcode related weather data to predict when the crop will be suitable for harvest.
“By improving the precision of harvest timing, the app will help growers maximise the value of the crop they have grown and improve their return on investment,” Mr Richmond comments.
The Maturity Manager and Feed Manager sections provide a powerful decision-making aid to selecting the most appropriate variety for a given farm, essential if high quality crops are to be grown.
The Maturity Manager section uses Ontario Heat Unit data to provide a recommended FAO range, from which varieties can be chosen to be successfully grown at the farm’s postcode.
The Feed Manager tool is a brand new concept which assesses varieties on the expected financial return per hectare, using yield and energy content data to compare varieties with the average
based on anticipated milk income, or gas output where used as feedstock for anaerobic digestion.
“The app calculates the value of potential income per hectare which is the real driver of ROI and shows the difference compared to the average within maturity class. For example, the early variety Prospect has the potential to generate and additional £580 per hectare in terms of milk value.”
The final section is Sowing Manager which provides a recommended seed rate and calculates the number of seed bags required for the hectarage to be drilled.
“Using the app, growers will be able to use data to determine the optimum variety, drilling rate and harvest date to help maximise ROI from their maize through a high yield of a quality forage,” Mr Richmond concludes.