EXPERIMENT

Maize sown in vetch

Now I know rye and vetch will flower simultaneously I’m going to add some rye to the vetch next year. There were severe problems with pucerons in the pure vetch stand. In part no doubt due to the poor state of the soil, but I think in part due to a lack of diversity and physical support for the viney vetch. I used the same sowing schedule and techniques as for the soya.


Vetch at the beginning of flowering. Heavy presence of aphids, leading to the need to mow large areas in an attempt to save what remained.

Same vetch sown the same day but where it had chicory as a support. Same fence post as in the above photo. No aphids.

The band across the middle has been killed by aphids. In all the farm fields I inherited enormous populations of dock and thistle. By this stage, hundreds of docks were coming through the vetch. I decided to stick with it on the basis that if this system is going to work it needs to work in conditions that are not optimal. I also hoped that most of the docks might also be in flower when I rolled the vetch, and then maybe they would be eliminated before seeding.

Vetch after rolling and sowing the maize.

Maize 23rd June

Maize 7th July

Maize 23rd July

Maize 1st September. Vetch straw still present.

A part of the field left alone to show the pressure of docks and others.

A sunflower placed next to the ‘control’ maize in a prepared seed bed.

Same sunflower next to the maize in the rolled vetch.

Maize sown in vetch.

RETURNS COMPARISON

 Maize in VetchMaize Control
Profit (€)729- 73
Yield (tonnes)5.504.00
Sale price (250 €/tonne)1375 €1000 €
Production costs646 €1073 €

PRODUCTION COST COMPARISON
based on the official price list for field operations

PRODUCTION COSTMaize in rolled vetch - €/haMaize control - €/ha
TOTAL6461073
Vetch seeds9999
Maize seeds250250
Cultivator5048
Discs5052
Sowing of vetch5757
Rolling & sowing of Maize60
Mowing vetch51
Discs52
Rotary hoe60
sowing of Maize42
Tine weeder29
1st inter row hoeing55
Tine weeder29
2nd inter row hoeing55
Tine weeder29
3rd inter row hoeing55
Manual weeding of Datura 30
Harvest8080