Maize Watch: Green crops slow maize harvest by one week

The first maize crops have now been harvested and all the growers are reporting good yields, according to Neil Groom of Grainseed.

“But an abundance of green stems in crops meant all the growers on the first sites harvested left crops a week longer than the grain ripeness indicated to ensure overall dry matter rose above 30%,” he says.

“Meanwhile, there have been reports of the first crops being frosted in some regions and growers need to assess the level of frosting because if it is severe and the leaf is lost down to cob level it is better to harvest and clamp early before moulds grow on the dead frost leaf.”

When it is just tipping at the top of the plant then don’t worry since these leaves contribute little to overall yield and quality, but its always best to cut once the leaf down to the cob is affected, says Mr Groom.

Robert Parker at Ticknall, Derbyshire, reports his crop is nearing harvest. “We have cut 15 acres of flood meadow land, which was drilled really early, and I am glad we did because the river is now high and I don’t want to travel on saturated soils. Yield is looking good, probably the best ever, but I don’t know where I am going to put it all since third-cut grass yields were good too”.

When harvesting after rain, ensure a sweeper is on the road to clear all mud behind trailers, advises Mr Groom. “And, once the field is cleared, assess soil structure damage by trailers and the harvester. If needed, remove any compaction in the soil profile with a heavy cultivator or subsoiler so the winter rain can infiltrate the soil rather than running off the field and causing soil erosion.”


Drill date

Ht above sea level (m)

Crop dry matter 27 September

Increase from last week

Petworth, Sussex

27 April



Harleston, Norfolk

27 April



Crediton, Devon

26 April



Ticknall, Derbyshire

19 April



+ 2.5

Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire*

8 May



+ 2.6

Leyburn, N. Yorks *

20 April



+ 0.5

SAC, Dumfries, Scotland*

22 April



+ 2.2

* Variety Es Picker, all other sites are Es Ballade

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