22 August 1997

Maize on target for a record-breaking crop

POTENTIAL for a record-breaking maize crop with predictions that yield will be up 15-20% is the talking point for growers as FW starts its countdown to the 1997 forage maize harvest.

For the past five harvests, seven sites in the main forage maize growing areas of the UK, have supplied FW with dry matter figures. Six of the sites are growing the variety Dartis, with the Dumfries site growing Nancis.

Each week until the end of harvest we will publish a table showing how crops are progressing towards target harvest dry matters of 30%.

To date the humid, sunny weather – ideal for maize growth – has encouraged cobs to fill well about a week to 10 days ahead of the same stage last year. This has prompted predictions of a mid-September harvest date.

"Crops in the east – even if they are further north – are generally ahead of those in the south-west this year," says Coop de Paus John Hardy.

"Of the monitored sites, Attleborough in Norfolk is furthest ahead, which is probably due to the warmth held by the black Breckland sands."

He is encouraging growers to start monitoring DM now and to harvest when the cob is at the optimum stage of maturity.n


Forage maize dry matter data from seven farms

Site LocationHeight aboveDrillingDM%

sea level (m)dateAug 14

Crediton, Devon11818/415.3

Attleborough, Norfolk2525/420.1

Gelli Aur, Dyfed238/5*

Winchester, Hampshire10012/414.8

Ticknall, Derbyshire6717/415.9

Castle Howard, Yorkshire759/512.8

Dumfries, Scotland4515/514.0

*Figures for Aug 14 not available.