7 September 2001

Maize crops on way throughout UK

WARM sunny weather during the last 10 days of August has pushed maize crops forward in all areas of the UK.

Even crops in Yorks have starch in the kernels, writes Grainseeds Neil Groom. Producers are predicting that these northern crops will be cut in late September.

As harvest is approaching, assess crops now. Consider each field separately, away from the headland where compaction is likely. Look at five cobs down the same row to indicate evenness of maturity and predict dry matter using the standard thumbnail test or oven drying.

Once the crop has been assessed, harvest date can be predicted by assuming an average weekly increase of 2%. For high quality silage, the crop must be cut when kernels are fully mature and leaves still green.

When dry matter reaches 25%, contractors should be warned the crop is only about two weeks away from harvest. Dry matter results for the UK (see table) show crops in Sussex and Norfolk moving towards harvest in 2-3 weeks. &#42

Dry matter on Sept 2

Site Ht above sea level (m) Drilling date Dry matter*

Petworth, Sussex 50 May 10 24.4%

Harleston, Norfolk 30 May 12 22.5%

Crediton, Devon 118 May 9 22.0%

Ticknall, Derbys 67 May 10 19.1%

Gelli Aur College, Dyfed* 23 May 12 19.1%

SAC, Dumfries 45 May 7 16.0%

*Variety Nancis, all other sites are Soldier.