Get ready for maize harvest now, recommends Neil Groom, technical Manager for Grainseed. “We have seen crop maturity move forward rapidly in September sunshine and John Hancock, Petworth, Sussex, thinks his crop will be on the point of harvest next week.

“Remember crop maturity changes quickly in September as we can see on this week’s samples where some sites have increased by over 4% – the over years average increase is about 2%.

It is vital growers begin assessing grain maturity, by walking well into the field away from the headland and stripping out several cobs to ensure a good picture is gained of the crop, adds Mr Groom.

Also, keep in contact with your contractor so he knows what stage your crop is at, he says. “Harvesting teams now cover a large acreage to justify the investment in machinery and will often work through an area at least twice during harvest.”

Think about access to the fields and clamp, improving gateways and clearing space in the yard in front of the clamp will all help the efficiency of the harvesting team and ensure that on harvest day maize is efficiently brought into the clamp allowing the chopper to keep cutting.

FW/Grainseed Forage Maize Countdown to Harvest 

Site Drill date Crop dry matter 31 Aug % Increase
Petworth, Sussex 10 May  26.0 % + 3.5
Harleston, Norfolk  3 May 21.9 % + 0.1
Crediton, Devon 10 May 21.7 % + 0.5
Ticknall, Derbyshire 27 April 24.4 % + 4.3
Gelli Aur College, Dyfed* 10 May 20.4 % + 1.3
Leyburn, N. Yorks * 6 May 20.1 % + 1.6
SAC, Dumfries * 25 April 20.4 % + 4.8
* Variety Nancis, all other sites are Soldier.