23 June 1995

Maize crop on hold as cold spell bites

GROWTH of many forage maize crops has been at a standstill for the past couple of weeks due to the recent cold weather.

Met Office data shows that between May 10 and May 16 the average temperature was, at 7.7C (46F), 4C (7.2F) lower than last year. "This cold snap, at a time when many crops were particularly vulnerable, will set growth back," says Sue Russell of feed analysts Farmlab. Some stands are even showing signs of purpling of the leaf tips due to cold stress.

Simon Draper, consultant agronomist to the Maize Growers Association, says the warmer weather this week should help stand-still crops such as the one pictured.

Mr Draper advises that any cold stressed crops could now be given a booster tonic with a spray application of manganese. Similar advice comes from John Hardy of Coop de Paus UK agents Grainseed.

"A lack of temperature has been the cause of the problem but plants should grow away from it quickly now," he says. "Farmers should not be tempted to put on extra nitrogen to try to help cold-stressed crops. A foliar spray of trace elements is much the best boost that can be given to the crop," advises Mr Hardy. &#42