Back Growing maize under OXO-biodegradable film

Date: 15 June 2015

Growers of Pioneer® brand maize can now experience the benefits of growing maize under OXO-biodegradable film using the SAMCO System.

This revolutionary system provides a solution to farmers to plant maize crops in areas which were previously considered impossible, as well as providing farmers in traditional areas with more flexibility.

Developed in Ireland, the SAMCO machine sows the maize seed, sprays the soil with a pre-emergent herbicide and covers the planter rows with an OXO-biodegradable film in a single pass. The film is designed to be strong enough to be pulled through the machine, but weak enough to allow the plants to break through at the correct growth stage.

"The SAMCO System creates a greenhouse effect keeping the young maize seedlings in a warm, humid environment for 4-6 weeks" says Grant McDonald, SAMCO Project Manager. "Higher soil and air temperatures under the film increase plant growth rates and the film also protects the young plant from late frosts and adverse weather."

"We also see benefits in drier growing environments because the film helps conserve moisture which would normally evaporate from the soil" says McDonald. "Ventilation holes in the film stop the maize plants from getting excessively hot during warm spring days."

The SAMCO film is naturally broken down by warm temperatures and ultra violet light, and the residue is eaten by soil micro-organisms. When the maize plant touches the film, the root system develops more rapidly and this helps to sustain the plant in the later growth stages. Eventually the plant breaks through the film and is on its way to producing a high-yielding crop.

McDonald believes there are two ways local growers can benefit from growing Pioneer® brand maize silage using the SAMCO System.

"Firstly, if you are in a traditional maize growing area, the SAMCO System will allow you to plant earlier. This means you can grow a higher yielding, longer maturity maize hybrid, or harvest your maize silage up to a month earlier."

"Secondly, growers at altitude or in cooler environments can plant earlier knowing their crop is protected from late season frosts for 4-6 weeks and get it off earlier in time to plant new pasture or a winter crop. Alternatively, they can grow a higher yielding, longer maturity hybrid for the same duration as their traditional hybrid choice."

Research work conducted overseas and locally shows there are a number of factors which will help you get the best results out of growing Pioneer® brand maize seed under the SAMCO system. These include:

• Choose a flat paddock, or near flat with consistent contour. Square or rectangular paddocks are ideal.
• Spray out existing pasture several weeks prior to planting.
• Plough the paddock to bury the trash and work the top to form a fine, even, clod-free seed bed.
• Soil test and apply the required fertiliser before final cultivation.
• The SAMCO planter works best in a seed bed which is 75-100 mm deep with a maximum clod size of 30 mm

If this technology is something that you may be interested in for this upcoming maize season, contact your local Pioneer Representative for more information.