10 April 1998

Mid-April maize?…

MAIZE planting could start in mid-April, depending on a farms susceptibility to frost, providing seed-beds are ready.

So says ADAS dairy business consultant, John Jackson, who urges growers to look at soil conditions before starting cultivations.

To cut compaction, Salop-based maize agronomist Simon Pope advises applying lime and fertiliser ahead of final seed-bed cultivations.

Sowing depth will vary between 6.5-10cm (2.5-3.9in), he says, depending on where moisture is.

If ground remains wet, late drilling dates through May will be unavoidable. Compensate for late drilling by reducing seed rates from 111,195/ha (45,000 seeds/acre) to 103,782/ha (42,000 seeds/acre), he adds.

Maize Growers Association director of operations, John Morgan, is urging growers to consider risk of frost and not get carried away with an early rise in soil temperature to determine drilling date.

"Individual growers will know if their farm is prone to frost or not from historical records," says Mr Morgan.