18 September 1998

DM rises less marked

CROP dry matters have moved forward, but at a slower pace than in previous weeks, reflecting poor weather experienced in most parts of the country.

Until now, East Anglia appears to have had better maize growing conditions than the rest of the country with contractors reporting crop maturity is better than anticipated this year, especially considering the poor weather.

On light, sandy soil on the Norfolk/Suffolk border some crops are almost ready to be harvested. Variations in crop maturity at different sites reflect problems going as far back as seed-bed preparation and drilling.

Simon Leech, who manages the Attleborough site in Norfolk, says he expects to start harvesting in a fortnight to three weeks, but does not expect yields to be far behind those achieved last year.

As in previous weeks, heavy rainfall has stopped improvement in maturity, as seen at the Winchester, Hants, trials site. &#42

Forage maize dry matter change

Site location DM% Sept 3 DM% Sept 10 Change on week %

Crediton, Devon 23.6 24.3 +0.7

Attleborough, Norfolk 21.5 23.0 +1.5

Gelli Aur college, Dyfed 19.4 19.8 +0.4

Winchester, Hampshire 22.3 21.5 -0.8

Ticknall, Derbyshire 19.2 20.4 +1.2

Castle Howard, Yorkshire 15.9 17.6 +1.7

Dumfries, Scotland* 14.5 15.5 +1.0

*Variety Nancis – all other sites drilled with Sophy.