Ben Ronnfeldt was impressed with the performance of his crop
|Farm location:||Dalby, QLD|
After standing up to 150-kilometre per hour winds to produce their best ever corn silage crop, it’s fair to say Ben Ronnfeldt was impressed with the performance of Pioneer® hybrid P2307 corn in the 2017/18 summer.
The testing conditions came from a twister which went through the Ronnfeldt’s Dalby property on New Years Eve 2017.
“The storm wrote my house off, completely blew it away,” Ben recalls. “But probably 80 per cent of P2307 corn was still standing, it didn't even have a lean on it.”
“It was incredible, I was expecting to see all the corn flat on the ground, but got a shock when P2307 was still standing.”
Although long-term growers of Pioneer varieties, 2017/18 was the second time the Ronnfeldts had included P2307 in their 2200-hectare cropping program in the Dalby and Macalister districts of the Darling Downs. The decision to grow P2307 was about chasing silage yield, meaning both cob and general plant mass production was a factor.
More broadly, the corn program plays a particularly important role on the Ronnfeldt’s irrigation country.
“It suits us as cotton does well following corn,” Ben explains. “Corn provides problem paddocks with a good disease break from the cotton rotation, and so corn's the preferred option over sorghum for that reason.”
The Ronnfeldt’s planted P2307 in cooler conditions during September 2017, after applying 200 kilograms per hectare of urea pre-plant.
“It was dry planted and watered up, and we got a good strike, didn't have any insect problems at all, and it seemed to cob up nicely and produce a good cob size,” he says.
“It was double and triple cobs on most plants, so it grew really well, it was nice and tall, so we were really happy with it overall.”
Ben says they applied another 80 kilograms per hectare of urea twice with in-crop watering, with the fertiliser regime playing an important role in the end performance.
“Getting that fertiliser right is important, it makes or breaks a corn silage crop,” he says. “If you don't have your nitrogen or starter fertiliser right, it's just not going to yield.”
And yield it did, with the Ronnfeldts being surprised, and pleased, with the P2307 harvest in January 2018, given the severity of the New Years Eve storm.
“It went well, a lot better than we were expecting it to,” Ben recalls. “It's the best silage we've ever grown, and the result was a combination of the variety and the season coming together to give us that performance. We’ll be growing it again.”
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