Maize Watch: Crops heading for maturity

South coast maize crops are coming along well and grain is fully mature in these crops, with more starch having been laid down in the showery conditions of the last few days, reports Neil Groom of Grainseed.

“When you snap a cob in half and squeeze the grain, only the smallest droplet of moisture can be extracted from the base of the grain, and we can see the milk line well down through the grain.

“I always like to look at six cobs in a row to determine the eveness of maturity, and you should always look at cobs away from the headland and, ideally, from different areas of the field, too.”

Maize Watch LogoThe decision on when to harvest is important since this is the basis of the winter ration and rushing in too early with the harvester will mean crop potential is reduced as sugars are not fully converted to starch. In the clamp sugars will be converted to acids reducing silage intake compared to if the crop was allowed to fully mature.

Nick Tibbenham at Harleston on the Norfolk-Suffolk border is nearing harvest. “Our crops are good this year given that we didn’t have any rain for nearly 10 weeks in early summer.

“We will achieve the budgeted yields we need to have for the winter ration and I shall let the crop get quite mature, since we clamp in a tower silo. With all that weight above I need to ensure it’s high dry-matter to prevent any effluent being squeezed out,” he adds.


Drill date

Ht above sea level (m)

Crop dry matter 8 September

Increase from last week

Petworth, Sussex

27 April



+ 2.6

Harleston, Norfolk

27 April



+ 1.6

Crediton, Devon

26 April



+ 0.9

Ticknall, Derbyshire

19 April




Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire*

8 May



+ 1.3

Leyburn, N. Yorks *

20 April



– 0.3

SAC, Dumfries, Scotland*

22 April



+ 0.9

* Variety Es Picker, all other sites are Es Ballade

• Keep up-to-date with our dedicated Maize Watch page.