Maize maze at autumn sales

By FW Staff

IT COULD be touch-and-go if youre selling standing maize this autumn, with sales showing variable success.

“Surprisingly strong,” is how Richard Furnival of Cheshire-based Frank R Marshall & Co describes demand, having seen prices of between £400/ha and £482/ha last week.

Most money was paid for a 7.5 acre field of Janna. “It was outstanding,” says Mr Furnival. “Seven-and-a-half feet tall all the way through – and very clean.”

Interest levels are surprising given the bumper first-cut silage crops and tight cashflows. But with hay and straw prices high, some people may be looking to maize as an alternative, he suggests.

But Philip Venner of Greenslade Taylor Hunt in Dorset says demand has been very weak. Values have been as low as £124 and £173/ha in the face of fewer cattle and plentiful fodder supplies.

Crops in arable-growing areas have suffered most, says Mr Venner. Even in more traditional dairy areas, however, if the neighbours are well stocked up with fodder, they are not bidding.

Location is the key, says Andrew Wallace of Wright-Manley in Cheshire. Hes done two private treaty deals recently at between £430 and £494/ha. “People dont want to be carting it much more than four miles.”

Potential yield is also a big factor in the equation, with crops ranging from 6.2 tonnes and 13.6t/DM/ha this season, according to Simon Draper of the Maize Growers Association.

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