Moon landing maize maze

A 10-acre maize maze at the National Forest adventure farm in Staffordshire, offers a spectacular illustration of the capabilities of modern precision farming.

by Steven Vale

12 Jul 2019

Created using an electrically driven eight-row Kuhn Maxima 3 drill directed by RTK satellite guidance, contractor Michael Tomlinson, working closely with Nick Wells from Rea Valley Tractors and RVT’s precision agriculture team, drilled the field with a single pass on May 1.

The resulting intricate maze design that celebrates the 50th anniversary of the first manned moon landing has been achieved without any manual intervention in the field.

Michael has drilled the maize maze at the site since the attraction opened 16 years ago. “In previous years we’ve drilled the field twice, in two directions, at 75cm row widths, and then the pattern has been marked out using GPS and a lot of canes, with the paths being hoed out manually,” he explains.

Agricultural contractor Michael Tomlinson (left) with Rea Valley Tractors’ precision agriculture specialist Tommy Adams.

“This year we took the design and had software written that would enable the drill to create the pattern. We set the drill at 37.5cm row widths and used approximately double the normal seed rate. With autosteer, precise electronic section control on the drill, and RTK satellite guidance accurate to within 1cm, we’ve achieved an incredible level of accuracy and a spectacular result.”

 “The 50th anniversary of the moon landing design has captured people’s attention and even attracted international coverage,” said Tom Robinson, who owns the National Forest adventure farm with his brother Ivor. “We hope this will be our best year ever attracting over 45,000 visitors.”

The maize maze includes three miles of paths, bridges, viewing towers and a mock-up of the Apollo 11 lunar landing module.