Clamping maize for use on a dairy unit© Tim Scrivener

Maize matured rapidly across all regions, meaning farmers are being advised to monitor their crops.

Neil Groom, technical director for Grainseed said: “It is not just crops in the best maize-growing counties that are close to harvest now, we have seen crops through Cheshire, Midlands and down in the South West, which will be ready this coming week.

See also: 6-step guide to successful maize establishment 

“In my 20 years working with maize I have not seen crops mature so rapidly so everyone should be monitoring their crops now.”

Mr Groom said if maize has a lot of dead leaf due to the heat in the past week then farmers should chop their maize finer and use more horsepower on the clamp to increase compaction.

Site

Drill date

Height above sea level (m)

Crop dry matter 13 September

Increase from last week

Petworth, Sussex

6 May

50

Harvested

 

Harleston, Norfolk

12 May

30

26.1 %

+ 0.8

Crediton, Devon

3 May

118

26.7 %

+ 3.1

Ticknall, Derbyshire

7 May

 67

24.3 %

+0.1

Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire*

5 May

32

23.6 %

+0.6

SRUC, Dumfries, Scotland (plastic)

22 April

45

24.2 %

+3.5

SRUC, Dumfries, Scotland*

22 April

45

21.5%

+ 2.3

* Variety Es Picker, all other sites are Es Ballade. Variety under plastic Es Marco.    

“There is a case for using an additive if you have dead leaf where yeasts and moulds have colonised the dead tissue,” added Mr Groom, who said this should be applied at 1 litre/t or more to get good coverage throughout the clamp.

Those that have a long haul back to the clamp should consider using lorries to transport maize because they are cheaper to run than tractor and trailers.

In my 20 years working with maize I have not seen crops mature so rapidly so everyone should be monitoring their crops now Neil Groom, Grainseed

“Any fields more than 10 miles away are a candidate.

“This will also keep the harvester moving since modern harvesters can fill a trailer in a couple of minutes and a rule of thumb is you need a trailer for every mile that you are travelling.”

Bill and Chris Blake, sampling for Farmers Weekly near Crediton in Devon, have had some superb crops this year.

“We had a warm spring and the crop never stopped growing, we planted less acres this year since we had a lot of silage left in the clamp, but we will have to cut acreage again next spring,” commented Bill.

Chris said they already feed a high percentage of maize as forage in the diet and the high yields makes maize a really cost effective part of the diet.

“We need to use our home-grown forage as much as possible to allow us to minimise our costs.”