Maize Watch: Prospective yields in the South looking good

Maize growers are being advised to keep a close eye on crops as harvest edges closer in the South and on sandy soils.

The good temperatures last week moved dry matters forward by more than 4% on sandy soils.

John Hancock, sampling for Farmers Weekly in Sussex, has some good crops this season. He harvested last week and yielded 55t/ha on average, with dry matters of 32-38%, depending on soil type.

See also: Should bulky maize crops be cut high?

George John, sampling for Farmers Weekly in Carmarthenshire, estimates that many of his crops are now close to harvest. “Our crops are not over-tall, but they have fantastic cobs which are well filled and ready to chop,” he says. “The plant is still green, and so we will benefit from both the sugars in the leaf and starch in the cobs.”

He says it will make rationing cows easier this winter with starchy maize silage in the pit.

Advice post-harvest

Growers are being advised to sow winter crops to make the most of any nutrients left in the soil and reduce runoff over the winter.

“Growing a winter cover crop also keeps the soil biologically active,” says Neil Groom, technical director for Grainseed. “We really should not have any bare winter stubbles. It is now considered bad practice and while the soil is still warm, seeds will quickly germinate and grow.

“Many mixed farms will drill winter wheat straight into the maize stubble and the resulting wheat crops are always good. If the field does get wet, then use a deep tine to rectify any soil damage from trailers on headlands and gateways, but so far travelling conditions have been perfect,” he adds.

Westerwolds, Italian ryegrass or grazing rye are alternative options to winter cereals and will provide stock with an early bite next spring, says Mr Groom.

Maize dry matters across the UK


Drill date

Height above sea level (m)

Crop dry matter 21 September

Increase from previous week

Petworth, Sussex

27 April



Harleston, Norfolk

1 May




Crediton, Devon

22 April




Ticknall, Derbyshire

26 April




Narbeth, S Wales

11 May




SRUC, Dumfries, Scotland (under plastic)

14 April




Note: Variety is Es Tommen except variety under plastic which is Es Lovely