Warmer days move maize dry matters forward

After a lull in progress, forage maize dry matters will move forward again next week, predicts Neil Groom of Grainseed. “With the warmer temperatures of the last few days and clear nights, maize is maturing rapidly, but we won’t pick the effect of this up until next week.”

This can be clearly seen from the sample taken by Nick Tibbenham at Harleston, whose weekly samples have been slow to increase until this week. “I could see starch being actively laid down, but the plants on my stronger land were remaining green,” he says. “This week they look much more ready to harvest and we have booked the contractor to harvest 1000t to fill one of our tower silos this week.”

Brian Metcalfe, Leyburn, North Yorkshire, will be harvesting his own crops this weekend. “In general our maize looks good. Any areas where it lays wet or was compacted show up clearly, but we are pleased with the potential of the crop

“On the contracting side of the business, we have a full workload as growers see the opportunity of harvesting fields in dry conditions. Provided they have matched variety to field and not overdone the nitrogen, we expect to be clamping maize at about 28% dry matter with a high starch content.”

As contractors get busy, they need to be kept informed on the state of crops, says Mr Groom. “If you don’t let them know how crops are progressing, then how can they get to you when the crop is fully mature? We need to aim for a mature grain on a plant that is still predominantly green, so we maximise starch and digestibility,” he says.

“Once fields are harvested, ensure any compacted areas, which could result in surface water run-off, are cultivated to allow rainfall infiltration. When sowing with winter cereals, ensure crop residues are ploughed down to reduce the risk of mycotoxins in the following grain crop.”


Farmers Weekly/Grainseed maize dry matters
Site Drill date Ht above sea level (m) Crop dry matter 3 October
Petworth, Sussex 20 April 50 Harvested
Harleston, Norfolk 23 April 30 28.0 +4.6
Crediton, Devon 17 April 118 26.0 +2.2
Ticknall, Derbyshire 12 April 67 27.2 +0.2
Poyerston, Pembroke * 2 May 20 26.8 +1.0
Leyburn, N. Yorks * 23 April 140 27.6 +1.2
SAC, Dumfries, Scotland* 23 April 45 25.3 +0.3
* Variety Nancis, all other sites are Agreement

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