23 August 2002

Maize receives a helping hand

GOOD field choice and plastic mulch have benefitted maize development in Northern Ireland this summer, according to Lindsay Easson of the Agricultural Research Institute (ARINI).

"Crops grown in fields with poor drainage and moderate levels of soil compaction are yellow and stunted. While stormy weather removed large areas of plastic mulch from crops, there have been visible advances in growth and development even where the plastic remained for only two weeks or less."

Previous work at ARINI suggests crops which start cob formation in early September should achieve moderate cob development and dry matter of more than 20%, with harvesting delayed into October. But poorer growing conditions are likely to result in lower yields, especially in crops grown without plastic, he suggests. &#42