30 tonne maize

I am sorry, this was meant to go last week, but I failed to log on.
At least I have SOME evaporation figures, and, with a bit of luck, a downhill slope and a following wind, I should be able to keep it up….for a while.
Evaporation 13th and 14th of February, 6, 5-22

We have just been looking at some curing trials we did, mostly on 326, in the 3 different curing systems. My reaping foreman (who has many year’s experience, even though not much of it was in the barns) and I looked through the 7 different samples and tried to rank them. We both agreed on the best, and most of our other rankings were within one or two positions of each other (I put a sample at 3rd, he put it at 5th). I think I mentioned in a previous blog that we had taken a clip of 326 and jumped it forward 3 days in the tunnel – well, that came out worst (by both my and my foreman’s ranking). The 326 in the 7 barn Chongololo seemed to be the best, but the differences were small and I look forward to analyzing several 100 sold bales, to get a more accurate assessment.

My stalk measurements on my priming trial have been completed, so I will do the maths on them ready for next week’s blog. My Vydate trial (on the irrigated 326) suggests NO response to Vydate at 4 litre or 8 litre per ha. This was real McCoy Vydate, not a generic. I have done these Vydate trials for several years now, but this is the first time I have done them on a proper replication – 6 random plots for each treatment. If our prices are rock bottom terrible, and if I decide to still grow tobacco and If I decide to grow 326 (that is three Ifs – some of them bigger than the others) I may well cut right back on Vydate, only treating a small portion, to see if it does make any difference on a scale larger than my replications.

Patrick had a visit from Michelle Du Toit, who said that early priming not only slows the crop down, but also interferes (negatively) with the Nicotine/Sugar ratio. We MUST be very careful to only follow proven advice. (I have just read a lovely article on why Humans tend to doubt science – worth reading http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2015/03/science-doubters/achenbach-text) Margins are going to remain tight to non-existant, and, whereas it is still important to experiment to find new techniques, we should only adopt those techniques when they have been proven to be beneficial. I have been telling my small scale neighbours that the American maize yield has just been broken – 31.6t/ha. One jokingly replied that it must be Witchcraft. Of course we know it wasn’t; but it equally wasn’t achieved by using unproven magic potions. Just carefully reasoned sound science.




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