Farmer Focus: Fertiliser scorch did not slow maize growth

The past few weeks have given us the moisture to aid grain fill. The weather forecast as I write looks dry and warm which will help finish the barley which, hopefully, we will be cutting as you read this.

The winter wheat and the spring wheat do not look as if they will be ready to combine until mid-August at the earliest, although the warmth and sun will certainly help the final push for yield.

See also: How plant sap tests could unlock disease control benefits

About the author

Robin Aird
Arable Farmer Focus writer Robin Aird manages 1500ha on the north Wiltshire and Gloucestershire border, with a further 160ha on a contract farming agreement. Soils vary from gravel to clay with the majority silty clay loams. The diverse estate has Residential, commercial and events enterprises. He is Basis qualified and advises on other farming businesses.
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Maize growth has been impressive, as it is not a crop I would usually keep an eye on. We applied some liquid fertiliser to the crop as the final dose a few weeks ago.

We knew there was a risk of scorch and so tried various options to reduce it. We managed to cover the spectrum from no scorch through to two leaves removed.

What was interesting was that it did not slow the growth, and looking now you could not tell that we had scorched it.

We have started the mid-season servicing of all the machinery prior to harvest.

The trailers and sprayer have had the brakes stripped down and cleaned and they will go over the rolling road to check the braking efficiency.

The combine has had its winter service and now needs all the panels putting back on.

We are awaiting the arrival of two new tractors that were meant to be with us in April, so hopefully, they will make an appearance soon. These will replace a 10,000-hour tractor and one of the contract-hired machines.

We moved to contract hire five years ago with full warranty and service. It works very well for us knowing the cost per hour of each tractor and you get no surprises. Looking back over the past five years and the work done, we are definitely better off financially.

We have finally finished erecting gates on all the roadside gateways, this is not because we are grumpy farmers, but due to the constant fly-tipping and hare coursing that blight the landscape.

It has been an expensive and time-consuming exercise, but it has also improved our roadside vista.

This weekend we had an estate summer barbecue which was a chance for everyone to enjoy themselves. We will have a pre-harvest health and safety meeting to highlight any new issues and refresh the dangers that come with this time of year.

Finally, may I wish everyone a safe and happy harvest.

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