Farmer Focus: Why maize might be our crop of the future

Now then, never mind the Strictly curse, what about the Farmers Weekly curse?

There’s me telling all my loyal readers how well it’s all going and then we have to press the reset button on 12ha of OSR – there was just nothing there.

Anyway, that field has now had a dollop of muck and gone back into wheat. We usually do something twice at Osgodby Grange, so let’s hope that is it for this season.

But let’s move on to better news and talk about the crop of the future – maize. We all know what a difficult season it has been, so here’s a few stats for our crop: 16t/acre (39.5t/ha), 34% DM, 31% starch and an ME11.4 MJ/kg – that’s a definite win.

See also: Advice for growers as maize harvest nears end

We have now taken the chance to adjust the cattle’s diet, to include new-crop maize, and with Vivergo shutting, we are going to use maize distillers’ instead of wheat distillers’, with the addition of some urea in the molasses to bump up the protein level.

The weather has been unusually hot and clammy at times, so we have had a major shuffle in the yard to get the maximum amount of cattle into semi-covered yards. The rumen runs at a degree higher than body temperature and when you are feeding a pokey diet as we do, we need to dissipate some of that heat.

We are now into the kill cycle in the yard, with cattle going liveweight and deadweight. This means we can make room for some new arrivals after a good muck-out.

In the past fortnight it has been “hammer down” with a massive push from everybody including my father, who has been belting up and down as “drill tender” to try to get everything drilled up.

With blackgrass to contend with and only limited chemicals left in our armoury, we have to cram a lot of work into a very short period of time, and at some points you do get that deja vu feeling.


Doug Dear is a new Farmer Focus writer. Read his biography.