Maize crops hampered by wet weather

Maize harvest will be significantly delayed this year due to the wet summer, experts warn. Crops across the country are about three to four weeks behind schedule, which could lead to harvesting problems if wet weather persists, said Richard Camplin, forage product development manager with Limagrain UK.

“If we get warm, persistent weather it will give the cobs a chance to mature and for growers to harvest mid- to late October. However, if we get prolonged periods of rain in October, it could lead to problems getting machinery on the field.”

This is the second year in a row where weather has hampered maize, with dry weather last year damaging crops. “Two bad years for maize could lead those on the margins of growing maize to consider other things, such as wholecrop, but people shouldn’t be hasty if they are thinking about moving away from maize,” said Mr Camplin.

Neil Groom of Grainseed said the weather had created a “mixed bag” of crops this year, with lots of variation occurring even within fields. “We have seen a wide range of crops from normal to very poor, and that can be in the same fields.

“Poor soil management has also been evident this year, whether due to compaction or inadequate drainage in the soil. The rain has also caused leaching of nitrogen, leaving the crops hungry in many cases.”

Mr Groom also warned of the continued risk of maize eyespot. “Eyespot has been an issue throughout the South West and west coast. If eyespot has moved on to your crop within the last week, get out there and put a fungicide on. It needs to be put on at least one month prior to harvest,” he said.

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