Maize harvesting conditions have become more challenging with the arrival of rain and cooler conditions in many regions.
But the reduced threat of frost with increased cloud cover reduces the risk of plants getting frosted and losing sugars while they are still converting sugar to starch,” says Neil Groom, technical director for Grainseed.
“What happens when a crop is frosted is that the plant cells freeze and explode and the sugars contained within the leaf are lost. There is then the opportunity for moulds and fungi to grow on the dead leaf tissue if a badly frosted crop is left in the field for a long time.
“If just the top leaves are frosted, don’t worry, but if frosted below the cob then get the field chopped. When checking fields, walk in off the headlands, since it is often just the outside rows that are affected by cold winds,” he says.
Robert Parker, one of the farmers sampling for Farmers Weekly in Derbyshire, adds: “We have a superb crop this season; I think the best ever. We have harvested the early-drilled maize and the rest will be ready in another week’s time.
“For us, the starch is the key reason we grow maize and I am quite comfortable leaving the later-drilled fields to mature fully”.
Dry matter results
Ht above sea level (m)
Crop dry matter (%) 1 October
Increase from last week
SRUC, Dumfries, Scotland PLASTIC
SRUC, Dumfries, Scotland*
* Variety ES Picker, all other sites are ES Ballade. Variety under plastic ES Marco