22 September 1995

Half-way in forage maize harvest sees 12t DM/ha yields

By Jonathan Riley

FORAGE maize yields are about 12t dry matter a hectare (5t DM/acre) and starch contents 10% higher than last year at about 30% as harvest approaches the half-way stage.

"Some marginal sites will probably record yields close to the national average – out-performing drought-stressed crops in southern England," says Maize Growers Association (MGA) agronomist Simon Draper.

"In Pembrokeshire, where 30% of the crop has been harvested, yields are about 5t dry matter an acre," he says.

Harvest is about 30% completed in the south-west.

"The plant is greener than normal but cobs drier and overall crops have been harvested between 30 to 35%," says Mr Draper.

"In East Anglia droughted crops on lighter soils have yielded 20% less, but quality has been high.

Crops on heavier clay soils look as though they will produce a very high yield," he says.

In central southern regions 90% of the harvest has been completed.

Dorset-based Kevin Maitland, who farms 140ha (57 acres) near Blandford, has recorded yields of 12t DM/ha (4.8t DM/acre). But he says drought stress, combined with poor seed-beds on the chalky soils in the region have resulted in yields 50% below those recorded last year.

In the south midlands harvest is 50% completed. MGA member John Gerring reported that drought stressed crops on the lightest soils on his Oxfordshire farm still produced 9.4t DM/ha (3.8t DM/acre) of a high quality crop while yields on the heavier land were expected to be above average.

&#8226 Of the sites in the farmers weekly/Coop de Pau survey, Attleborough, Hinckley and Carmarthen have been harvested this week, leaving only two of the original seven sites unharvested. (see table).

Coop de Pau 1995 forage maize dry matter data from seven farms

Site locationDrillingHt aboveDM%DM%

datesea level (m)Sept 7Sept 14

Crediton, Devon16/4118 – –

Attleborough, Norfolk3/53527.128.5 (harv)

Winchester, Hants23/413732.4 (harv) –

Carmarthen, Dyfed16/415228.628.8 (harv)

Driffield, Yorks13/53721.121.6

Hinckley, Leics1/511028.229.7 (harv)

Dumfries, Scotland11/54518.720.0

Average DM 1995 sites26.025.7