How to make a corn maze?

The corn maze at the ‘Life of the Wind’ venue in Wieringerwerf is a real crowd puller. While the corn is now tall and people are really walking, a tractor and a windmill are also clearly visible from the air. The maize maze was sown by Peter Houtenbos from Loonbedrijf Sjef Houtenbos from Schagen with a section-controlled Väderstad Tempo. The result of an enthusiastic entrepreneur and the collaboration between the contractor and the GPS specialists from Raven Europe.

How does this occur?

“It started with Jacco de Graaf’s enthusiasm. He wanted a corn maze at the ‘Life of the wind’ meeting place in Wieringerwerf. He started looking for a partner and ended up with the GPS manufacturer Raven Europe (formerly SBG Precision Farming, Raven Industries was last year acquired by CNH Industrial, ed.). I myself worked there for six years before coming home to the construction company. They were still looking for a corn planter that can be turned on and off per hour. section, and we have that. At Raven, we drew the contours with the AG DNA program and made a map with QGIS. Actually a task card.”

How does it become a labyrinth?

“The design is an idea from Jacco, which has been further developed by someone from his circle of expertise. It has become a tractor and a windmill. Jacco also wanted that with a view to the connection to his company. We have put the design into a task card and loaded it into the Task Controller, so that we can control the eight-row Väderstad Tempo seeder via Isobus. The lines in the maze are seen as a ‘no spray zone’, section control at zero. The episodes then go out. Where the corn goes, the section control is in one, whereby the sections open and so seed is deposited.”

Sowing is done with a Fendt 516 with a Väderstad Tempo section controlled.

Are there any conditions attached to the seed?

“We were looking for seeds, as the plant has the property that it quickly goes into the air. For us, mother’s milking is not the starting point. In consultation with Koenis BV from Opmeer, we have selected a variety that grows tall.”

And fertilization? Does it also happen on the basis of GPS?

“Before we started sowing, we put a lot of fertilizer on the plot. This was a full field fertilization. The Väderstad seeder is equipped with a fertilizer trough, which is spread in sections at the same time as sowing.”

How was it in the field?

“We loaded the task map onto the task controller on the Raven CR12 screen. Then it’s really just a matter of following the lines from the task map. It went well right away. So it wasn’t a maze for us. With the AutoTURN option, headland turns are also automatic. Finally, I dare say that once you sow, it is actually easier than just sowing full fields.”

What about weed control?

“We have done fertilizing and sowing. Weed control took place once in a while, but we, as a contractor, were not responsible for that.”

Jacco de Graaf: “Regarding weed control, I asked a contractor from the area, Ed Groot. Because this is my only field with corn and he has a sprayer on narrow bands, I chose it. Otherwise I would have done it myself. Due to the driving distance of 37.5 centimeters, the narrow tires came in handy. We chose full-field spraying. In retrospect, we should have sprayed on section. I sowed grass seed between the corn. The spray went well over the plants, but failed for the germinating grass seed. I had to see it again, but because of the drought I don’t think it will work anymore. A lesson for next time.”

Have you already wandered through the maze you have sown?

Peter Houtenbos: “I’ve been there a few times, but haven’t gone through it yet. The corn maze is already open and I understand quite a few people are already coming. I’m on vacation soon, so I’ll definitely try again to find the end point.”

Text: Martin de Vries
Picture: Erik van Loon (Van Dronewerk Agro), Homburg Holland and Peter Houtenbos


This article is a follow-up to the contribution in ‘Jobbet’ in the July edition of the trade journal De Loonwerker. Subscribe and never miss a thing.

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