4 September 1998

Maize is surprisingly mature

MAIZE is maintaining the pace of last years crop despite dry matters falling over the last week, with crops in drier areas – particularly the south and east – making the most of recent showers.

Although sampled crops in drier areas havent shown signs of drought stress, rainfall is needed to push forward growth, and plants arent yet mature enough to stop water uptake. However, at the northern and Devon trials sites, where summer rainfall has been consistent, recent warmer weather has seen dry matter increase.

Maturity is similar to previous years. This surprises Bill Blake, who grows about 35ha (85 acres) of maize at the Crediton site, Devon.

He expected maturity to be two weeks behind last year with low-er dry matters and shorter plants.

Overall quality and cob-to-stem ratio should be better, but total starch and energy yield/ha are expected to be lower. &#42

Forage maize dry matter change

Site Location DM% Aug 21 DM% Aug 28 Change on week (%)

Crediton, Devon 20.7 21.7 +1.0

Attleborough, Norfolk 23.3 21.5 -1.8

Gelli Aur College, Dyfed 17.5 17.5 0

Winchester, Hampshire 20.6 19 -1.6

Ticknall, Derbyshire 19 17.7 -1.3

Castle Howard, Yorkshire 15.8 16.3 +0.5

Dumfries, Scotland* 11.9 14.1 +2.2

* Variety Nancis – all other sites drilled with Sophy