Growing at fixed distances with Controlled Row Farming

23-02-2022 | |
Photo: Amazone
Photo: Amazone

Amazone, in collaboration with Agravis and Schmotzer, is investigating a new arable method in which crops are grown in fixed rows.

All crops, except cereals, are sown in single rows with 50 centimeter row spacing. Cereals are sown in double rows, but also 50 cm from the next row. The space in between can be used for companion plants that naturally support the main crop. Depending on the crop rotation, the rows can be moved 25 cm the following year, so that the main crop can make use of the pre-fertilisation effects of the underseeding sown the year before.

Spraying and fertilising

Crop protection and fertilisation is mainly done in the rows by band application or with Dropleg nozzles when higher doses are required. Each operation is carried out via RTK-GPS and camera control. In addition, weed control is carried out by hoeing and sowing companion plants between the rows. By using these plants in the open spaces between the main crops, it is also possible to reduce water evaporation and erosion of the land.

In the Controlled Row Farming trials, the three companies are jointly testing two different methods: One focused on maximum yield with little competition from companion plants and one focused on biodiversity with reduced intensity of fertilisation and crop protection.

Van Erkelens
Jacco Van Erkelens Machinery writer