Cut late maize rate
CUT seed rates now for late drilled maize crops to compensate for the short growing season and consider applying a pre-emergence herbicide for crops already drilled.
So says Shropshire-based maize specialist, Simon Pope, who recommends that seed rates should be reduced from 111,150 plants a hectare (45,000/acre) to 10,370/ha (42,000/acre).
"There is no need to panic if maize has still to be drilled, as soil temperatures are still low." He also advises drilling at shallower depths to maximise early growth.
Overall, contractors say drilling, although delayed, has gone well. Truro-based Howard Emmett has been working 24-hour stints to get 400ha (1000 acres) of maize drilled. "Nobody has been panicking. Some have reduced seed rates, not because of the drilling date, but to get bigger cobs."
But producers who have completed drilling must consider a pre-emergence herbicide to secure a good start for this years crop, says Dr Pope. "If you wait until weeds are up, you are courting disaster."
Axient arable consultant, Phil Humphreys, also advises an application of a pre-emergence herbicide. But where ground conditions exclude spraying, particularly on heavier, stickier soils, post emergence applications should still work. *