Maize being harvested© Tim Scrivener

Maize growers are being advised to check the maturity of their crop at least twice a week after a week of sunny weather has led to many crops reaching full maturity.

Bill and Chris Blake, in Devon, who have been taking samples for Farmers Weekly reckon their maize will be harvested next week.

See also: Get more maize harvest news

They are debating cutting higher to improve the maize quality.

Neil Groom technical director for Grainseed agrees this would be a good idea, after trial work found cutting at 60cm instead of ground level will improve digestibility by 0.5% and significantly increase starch content by 3.2%.

“This works for anyone drilling wheat behind maize and we always see a boost in wheat crops after maize as they use the nutrients applied to the maize”
Neil Groom, Grainseed

Mr Groom says cutting higher will require the field to be well ploughed afterwards to bury the stumps and ideally should be flailed to speed up breakdown in the soil.

He adds: “This works for anyone drilling wheat behind maize and we always see a boost in wheat crops after maize as they use the nutrients applied to the maize.”

Mr Groom also encourages farmers to check the first trailers after harvest has commenced to ensure they are happy with the chop length.

“Ruminants benefit from longer chop of 18-25mm to create a scratch factor to stimulate the rumen, while maize for AD should be milled to 6mm to increase surface area for the bacteria to work on.

“Longer chop means the buck rake man needs to load the clamp in shallower layers to ensure better consolidation.”