AGCO, a worldwide manufacturer and distributor of agricultural equipment, has welcomed commercial and emerging farmers to its Zambia Crop Tour, an initiative focused on educating growers in ways to enhance crop yields through improved management and agronomy practices at planting.
Staged at the AGCO Future Farm in Lusaka, the event was graced by the Honorable Given Lubinda, Zambia’s Minister of Justice, a farmer himself and a former Minister of Agriculture.
The highly-successful Crop Tour covered the complete science of maize production, from soil quality characteristics and tillage systems to factors affecting corn growth and development and the use of equipment and technology.
Practical demonstrations were at the heart of the day-long event. Test plots of maize were planted at the AGCO Future Farm in December 2018 to enable Crop Tour visitors to evaluate how different approaches to agronomy, planting, equipment settings and usage affect growth and yield. A freshly-dug soil pit provided the focus for the discussion of soil quality and root systems.
One of the test plots planted with a device known as a Massey Ferguson planter, for example showed a 7% improvement in maize yield compared to planters equipped with spring or airbag down force systems.
In another trial, participants learned how important it is to avoid skips and doubles, terms used to describe planter mistakes resulting in misplaced seeds. If just 5% of seeds get skipped, growers will lose approximately 5% in yield. On the other hand, doubles typically do not cause dramatic yield loss, instead they represent wasted seeds.
Darren Goebel, AGCO Director – Global Agronomy and Farm Solutions based in the United States, who has been advising growers for 15 years, took a key role in the event.
“The Crop Tour is one of AGCO’s unique initiatives focused on demonstrating best-practice agronomy and aimed at finding ways to improve crop yields using new innovative agricultural machinery solutions. Our field demonstrations analyze how growers can better understand the role of agricultural equipment in optimizing crop production systems,” he said.
“We want to equip farmers with the very best knowledge in order that they can apply it to their own enterprises and get the most from their crops,” Goebel concluded.