With the drip irrigation in place, it was time to get cropping.
In May, McCain Foods took on cropping Blocks 1 and 2 using broad beans as a winter cover crop. Many thanks to Mike for sourcing the seed, and Ben and Richard for following up and helping with planters and planting.
Block 2 was already prepared, as it had been worked up to install the dripline. Block 1 was sprayed out by Hayden Greville, and ground ripped and hoed by Nicolle Contracting as for Block 2. We chose to replicate the preparations, thinking that the two blocks were to an extent a comparison.
Our intention was to establish the broadbeans as a row crop. At 762mm row spacing we wanted 75mm inter-row plant spacing. Our first attempt was not successful; the large seeds would not flow through the planter, but bridged and jammed. Our second attempt with a different planter was similarly frustrating. The seed flowed, but would not hold on the vacuum plates.
The crop was established on 8 May by Stu Mawley and John Roach of Te Mata Contractors – broadcasting the seed with a fertiliser spreader and harrowing it in. By the end of May, the crop was emerging and coverage looking reasonable. Weather remained warm, and moisture enough but not excessive.
Sara Gerard did eight x 1m2 quadrat counts in each block – and got pretty variable results! Given the large seed size and relatively low target population this is probably to be expected for an early germination result.