Crops still standing despite gales

20 October 2000

Crops still standing despite gales

REPORTS from around the country indicate that most crops are still standing well despite gale force winds and torrential rains, writes Neil Groom from Grainseed.

Maize crops need to be cut in most areas south of the Pennines. Cobs are shot ripe and plants are starting to senesce off in the strong winds. As soon as fields are dry enough to travel on then get the contractor into harvest. Standing crops of maize allow fields to drain quickly as roots open up the soil structure and allow good water penetration. But it will take a couple of dry days to allow fields to drain since we have had an amazing amount of rain in the last fortnight across all areas of the UK.

As the crop becomes drier, clamp management has to be top class. Load the clamp in shallow layers and keep rolling to exclude as much air as possible. If there is the possibility of loading two clamps at once then the loader tractors have longer to roll clamps.

Corn crackers must be in place on the harvester when kernels become fully mature to ensure every grain has been broken or bruised during harvesting. Check the first trailer load off the field when the contractor starts on farm to ensure that youre happy with chop length and that every grain is cracked.

Growers have a dilemma about chop length; reducing it improves clamp consolidation and reduces clamp spoilage, but finely chopped maize passes through the rumen more quickly. One solution is to add chopped straw to the diet to slow the rumen and maximise the benefit of maize in the diet.

When crops become very dry then a silage additive should also be considered. These can be applied by the harvesting contractor which ensures an even application of additive throughout the clamp. Using an effective additive reduces the amount of spoilage from heating and moulds when maize is fed out of the clamp. &#42

Maize crop dry matters for Oct 13

Site Ht above sea level (m) Crop DM Oct 13 DM increase

Petworth Sussex 50 – Harvested

Harleston, Norfolk 50 31.9% +2.6%

Crediton, Devon 118 29.2% +2.0%

Ticknall, Derbys 67 25.4% -1.0%

Gelli Aur, Dyfed* 23 23.6% -1.7%

Leyburn, N Yorks 107 21.4% +0.6%

SAC, Dumfries* 45 26.7% -0.8%

*Variety Nancis, all other sites Sophy.

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