Maize Watch: Heavy crops result in slow harvest

Maize harvest is now active in all areas of the country as dry weather at the beginning of the month allowed harvest teams to cut without creating a lot of mud on the roads.

But heavy crops have resulted in slower progress than normal, says Neil Groom, technical director for Grainseed. 

“When normally 100 acres a day is achievable with the largest machines, this year only 75-80 acres are being cut, depending on field sizes,” he explains.

See also: Video: Top tips for a successful maize harvest

Eyespot problems

Both Chris Blake and Simon Davies have harvested this week.

Mr Davies reports a lot of maize eyespot in his region due to the weather in August, which was favourable for the disease and causes early green leaf loss.

Many growers applied a fungicide in July before flowering, but this season a follow-up application four to six weeks later would have been beneficial, says Mr Groom.

“What is important now is that these fields get ploughed to bury the trash which would serve as an inoculum for 2018,” he adds.

Harvest in Scotland

Hugh McClymont at SRUC Crichton Royal Dumfries has harvested some maize under film.

“We used the ultra early maturing variety Es Lovely on the heavier fields and drilled these early in April to enable us to harvest at the beginning of October. Class brought their new 10-row header and shredlage processor and we cut the crop on Friday 5 October at 36.5% dry matter.

“We can grow good grass here and we want the maize to be dry and high in starch to maximise the production of milk from forage.”

The field will be ploughed over the weekend and drilled with wheat, which we will wholecrop next summer before reseeding a grass ley for Scotgrass 2019.

Catch crop advice

Growers should switch from drilling grass seeds to forage rye or wheat as their catch crop now, advises Mr Groom. “Young cereal seedlings are more robust than grass seedlings and will stabilise the soil better and utilise more nutrients.”


Drill date

Ht above sea level (m)

Crop dry matter 2 October

Increase from last week

Petworth, Sussex

2 May




Harleston, Norfolk

5 May




Crediton, Devon

24 April




Ticknall, Derbyshire

7 May




Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire*

10 May




SRUC, Dumfries, Scotland PLASTIC

4 May




* Variety Es Picker, all other sites are Es Ballade. Variety under plastic Es Marco