Maize growers are being advised to get ready for harvest now as the crop matures rapidly.

According to Neil Groom, technical director of Grainseed, a lot of crops along the south coast, East Anglia, Lincolnshire and the Midlands will be ready in favourable areas to harvest at the turn of the month. “However, where less heat is available harvest will be nearer to 10 October.”

For many growers, the problem facing them will be where to clamp the maize since crops have grown well with a lot of plant bulk and good, well fertilised cobs. “Remember more than 50% of the yield is from the cob and grain so overall height is not an important criteria, but there are certainly some monster crops out there.

“With good yields this harvest many growers will be able to replace forage stocks and this could allow buffer feeding next summer, so ensure you harvest at the optimum dry matter content of 30% so that you achieve the best possible quality of the maize clamped,” says Mr Groom.

If you have some maize left in the back of the clamp you can move it into another smaller clamp for feeding while the new crop matures. Roll well as you reclamp to exclude air and it will continue to store well.

Mr Groom says simple things like making space in the yard, filling holes in field gateways and deciding harvesting order for fields will help ensure harvest progresses smoothly on the day.

“Many maize crops have milky starch in the grains and these will rapidly finish as the crop converts sugars in the leaf to starch in the grains,” says Mr Groom. “The plant is an annual and wants to produce seed (grain) for next year so it wants to lay down starch. We spend a lot of time looking at the cob ripeness of varieties to ensure that they complete the lifecycle quickly enabling livestock farmers to benefit from as much maize starch in the silage as possible.”

   

Maize Harvest Update      

 Site Drill date Ht above sea level (m) Crop dry matter 11 September Increase from last week
Petworth, Sussex 4 May 50 27.3 +2.1
Harleston, Norfolk 2 May 30 24.8 +0.4
Crediton, Devon 25 April 118 26.2 +2.2
Ticknall, Derbyshire 1 May 67 21.2 +2.6
Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire* 4 May 32 23.5 +5.3
SRUC, Dumfries, Scotland PLASTIC 30 April 45 22.6 +0.3
SRUC, Dumfries, Scotland* 30 April 45 19.3 +0.4

 

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Read last recent maize harvest reports