Maize Watch 2022: Maize cobs filling out

Maize cobs have filled out well during the past week and many contracting teams are making good progress with harvest, according to Neil Groom from forage specialist Grainseed.

“Where crops are shorter, we are seeing very high grain density, as the cob is a higher proportion of the chopped material,” says Mr Groom, who is collating samples for Farmers Weekly from around the country during the harvest season (see table).

“This means that the energy density of the maize will be higher than normal.”

See also:  Maize Watch 2022: Advice for a safe maize harvest

Silage is looking good in the pit, says Mr Groom. However, he stresses the importance of getting silage analysed every month and adjusting rations to optimise performance.

Rapid maturity

George John is sampling for Farmers Weekly on his farm in Camarthenshire. He reports good crops with well-filled cobs that have matured a lot in the past week.

“Temperatures are still around 18C during the day and the soils are warm,” he says. “I am encouraging everyone to disc the maize stubble and drill Italian ryegrass or grazing rye to provide extra feed next spring.”

Some growers in Mr John’s area have already harvested their maize crops, primarily those using film to ensure an early harvest and high starch. However, some fields drilled in April in the open have also been harvested.

“This is three weeks earlier than normal, due to the much higher heat units we have experienced,” he says.

2022 growing season: Progress of maize crops on six sites in England, Scotland and Wales 


Drill date

Height above sea level (m)

Crop dry matter 20 September

Increase from last week

Petworth, Sussex

26 April




Harleston, Norfolk

29 April




Crediton, Devon

27 April



+ 3.2 %

Ticknall, Derbyshire

26 April




Narberth, South Wales

3 May


31.3 %

+ 6.2 %

SRUC, Dumfries, Scotland (Samco film)

22 April


29.7 %

+ 3.3 %

Variety: Es Tommen. Variety under film: Cathy. Source: Grainseed

Plan for rainfall

Growers not planning to drill winter cereals or a catch crop of grass should run a tine through the maize stubble to open up the soil so that rainfall soaks in, advises Mr Groom.

“This is to stop heavy winter rainfall running off across the stubble field surface and carrying eroded soil into water courses,” he says.

“I always prefer to have the field growing a crop, but it may not always be possible.”