5 September 1997

Watch maturing crops in south and east

SOME maize crops in East Anglia are due to be harvested this week, and growers in the south and east should continue to monitor crops as maturity advances.

The Aug 28 result from the Attleborough site does not accurately reflect stage of maturity, warns Mike Warden, technical manager for Grainseed. "The sample was taken during a heavy thunderstorm, and crop maturity in East Anglia is as advanced as last weeks result would suggest."

But Simon Leach, manager at the Attleborough site, does not predict starting harvest until Sept 23. "I am wary of the crop being at 30% but the cobs not being ripe enough. But we do expect a bigger crop than usual at 18-20t/acre."

According to Mr Warden, maturity is advancing at 1.5-2% DM a week on average. "Southern sites are maturing fastest. This is due to the difference in accumulated temperature above the 14í base level required to convert stored sugars to starch." &#42


Forage maize dry matter data from seven farms

Site locationHeight aboveDrillingDM%DM%

sea level (m)dateAug 21 Aug 28

Crediton, Devon11818/418.520.8

Attleborough, Norfolk2525/427.9 21.9

Gelli Aur, Dyfed238/517.519.3

Winchester, Hampshire10012/419.923.2

Ticknall, Derbyshire6717/418.720.0

Castle Howard, Yorkshire759/517.516.7

Dumfries, Scotland4515/513.515.5

If you have last seasons maize still in your pit, spread it out along the bottom before ensiling the new crop, advises ADAS Midlands consultant Chris Flint.

Maize silage is easy to move, he says. But it is difficult to mesh together old and new crop material, as a vertical face between the crops will leave an air gap and cause aerobic spoilage.