12 April 1996

Hang fire with plough, maize men advised

MAIZE growers who have not yet ploughed should delay cultivations until 48 hours before drilling to conserve soil moisture.

Speaking at the Genus National Forage Conference, Maize Growers Association member and Cheshire grower Geoff Vickers said the dry winter has left soil moisture levels low.

"Ideally plough, power harrow and drill the crop within 48 hours," he said.

In Cheshire he had found that the earliest drilled crops achieved the highest dry matter yield and starch production.

"To maximise maize crop maturity sow as early as possible and choose a variety from the NIAB recommended list with good standing power," he said. "Avoid risking money on a variety that will let you down.

"For maximum root growth use a starter fertiliser and get a good seed-bed with no pan."