Maize maturity has increased rapidly in the South and East with one West Sussex farmer planning to start cutting next week.

“Although dry matters show some sites have reduced, it did rain a lot before sampling and because the plants are still green they have taken moisture up,” reports Neil Groom, technical director for Grainseed.

“The cobs, however, are now firmer with more starch in the grains.

See also: Eyespot resistance ratings make new maize list

2015 maize crop

Ratings for eyespot resistance have been included for the first time on the latest forage maize variety list, which sees the addition of nine new first-choice varieties.

Read more about the new varieties on the BSPB 2015 Forage Maize Descriptive List.

“I like to see maize harvested when the grains are completely mature, with only the smallest drop of moisture able to be squeezed from the base of the grain and a green plant,” says Mr Groom.

Assessing tips

To assess your crop, Mr Groom advises walking well into the crop and looking at six plants in a row to get a good impression of the grain maturity and repeat this in four or five areas of the field.

Wholeplant samples can be taken and dried in the microwave or AGA using the Maize Growers Association test. “We are aiming to clamp silage at 30-32% dry matter because all the sugar in the leaf has converted to starch and it makes the best quality silage for cows.”

One of the farmers sampling for Farmers Weekly at Selham, Sussex, estimates that his crop will be ready next week. “This will be 10 days earlier than last year.

“Crops are big and bulky with excellent cob size. We should be able to get cut in dry conditions and then I can drill my winter wheat at the turn of the month.”

MAIZE SAMPLING RESULTS

Site

Drill date

Height above sea level (m)

Crop dry matter 27 August (%)

Increase from last week

Petworth, Sussex

22 April

5.0

24.1

+0.6

Harleston, Norfolk

24 April

3.0

22.3

-3.2

Crediton, Devon

23 April

11.8

24.2

-2.1

Ticknall, Derbyshire

4 May

6.7

20.3

Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire*

16 May

3.2

19.6

+1.4

SRUC, Dumfries, Scotland (plastic)

23 April

4.5

23.8

+3.3

SRUC, Dumfries, Scotland*

23 April

4.5

20.1

+2.6

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