25 September 1998

Maturity going well

CROP maturity has progressed considerably; harvest dates are being planned in some areas of the country after a week of fair weather, with dry matters up 5% on the week in one trials hot-spot.

Cob maturity has improved in many early crops across much of southern England. Early indications show dry matter yields for Sophy, the variety used in the table, are better than expected and fears of large yield reductions should not be realised.

At the Winchester, Hants, trials site, dry matter has increased by 8%. In reality, DM has risen by 5%, the level of progress anticipated and hoped for by many growers, due to a sampling error last week showing a fall in DM of 3%.

Most sites are continuing to advance at a steady rate of 2% dry matter a week. Growers report that both Devon and Norfolk trials sites expect to start harvesting in little over a weeks time.

To get a true picture of when harvest is likely to start in individual crops, apply the thumb-nail test to a selection of cobs collected from across each field. &#42