Three sisters

Discussion in 'Holistic Farming' started by Farmersdaughter, Jan 8, 2017.

  1. Farmersdaughter

    Location:
    Gloucestershire
    After going to companion cropping talk at ORFC, have been thinking about companion cropping with maize. Andy Howard talked about the native Americans using the three sisters ( maize, beans and pumpkins). I was wondering if anyone ever tried forage maize with a pea or bean climbing up them. You would potentially get a more balanced silage and hopeful increase yield from the synergy of the companion crops. I can see lots of potential problems as well, how to establish beans/peas, would both crops mature at same time, how well would mixture ensilage.
     
    York likes this.
  2. York

    York Member

    Location:
    D-Berlin
    a local big seed company are releasing this year a maize / bean companion cropping. It is not tht easy as you have to have maize which is able to stand the weight of the beans, get beans which are not earlier & later mature than the maize & als the bean seed are not so large as this can add quite to seed cost. In Germany they had last year around 30 test farms, from <1ha to 30ha field size. this year they have good supply of bean seed so they do more.
    the silage is balanced in energy & protein for cows.
    Somewhere I have the latest presentation from the developer of the approach as he was part in Nov/Dec. of the road show. He showed some stunning numbers but was not hesitant to share also the open challenges.
    York-Th.
    p.s. by the way when he did his presentation, after the 1st 2 meeting he had to gear down as there where tooo many requests on the seed coming to the seed company. Even competitor seed companies ordered bean seed of them now.
     
    Farmersdaughter likes this.
  3. Richard III

    Richard III Member

    Location:
    CW5 Cheshire
    The MGA trialled maize and beans way back, probably in the early 1990's at a guess. From what I remember it worked ok, but there was no real farmer interest back then. I don't know if they have looked at it recently, since I gave up maize a while ago now.

    Are there herbicide options available for the combination crop? Back in the 1990's Atrazine made it easy.

    Simon Draper would have done the trial work and is still there, so could be of some help to you.
     
    Farmersdaughter likes this.
  4. Dan Powell

    Dan Powell Member

    Location:
    Shropshire
    DSV ?
     
  5. York

    York Member

    Location:
    D-Berlin
    No.
    York-Th.
     
  6. Dan Powell

    Dan Powell Member

    Location:
    Shropshire
    Oh. Any more details available? It's something I'd like to try. Are they using fava beans? I read a paper on this some time ago and they had fairly good results but the protein was only being boosted from 8% to 10% and energy was a bit lower.

    Runner beans would be interesting as they would climb up the maize.
     
  7. How much better would this be than 3 cuts of grass and clover? You'd have some grazing too and 4 -5 years of it too
     
    Steakeater likes this.
  8. Dan Powell

    Dan Powell Member

    Location:
    Shropshire
    I agree with the sentiment, and have gone down that route but the hard facts are that maize puts finish on beef cattle faster and cattle get a shine about them which doesn't seem to happen off rye grass / clover. Plus the bedding stays drier and less straw required. My customer demands starch finished beef and maize seems to be the best option. Plus it's a C4 plant and adds diversity... grows well here.
     
    Bury the Trash and Steakeater like this.
  9. Definitely more protein. A lot better for the soil as well.
     

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