News
September 21, 2015
Farmers Weekly Maize Dry Matters 2015 Week 2
Maize on sandy soils in East Anglia and the South coast will be on the verge of harvest by the time Farmers Weekly is printed on the 25th September reckons Neil Groom Technicl Director of Grainseed Ltd. Many of these crops are currently cheesey ripe in grain maturity although plants are still very green to the bottom leaves.

Farmers Weekly Maize Dry Matters 2015 Week 2 (213Kb)

Further west and on colder, heavier soils there is still a way to go before crops reach full maturity and for best feeding results crops should be left to achieve their full potential.

John Hancock sampling for Farmers Weekly near Petworth Sussex comments that an assessment of his fields shows that sheltered fields which were not exposed to the cold easterly winds last spring are a week ahead in maturity and he intends to wait until the turn of the month before cutting his crops.

"We will chop the driest fields first and clamp them in the base of the clamp and put the less mature maize on the top. I have one field drilled after first cut grass in mid May which will still be juicy but the drier silage will soak this up and we want to cut all the fields at one time rather than reopen the clamp later" says John.

Neil advised growers to walk into the field from a couple of different points and assess plants away from the headland, look at both grain maturity by peeling and cracking open cobs and also look at the amount of moisture in the stem by twisting to see if juice runs out.

"Grains should be hard with only the smallest droplet of moisture coming out of the base of the grains. I always open up half a dozen cobs to assess evenness of maturity because you naturally select the ripest looking to open initially"
September 15, 2015
Farmers Weekly Maize Dry Matters 2015 Week 1
Each year we supply the Farmers Weekly with a series of weekly checks on the dry matter of maize crops at sites around the country.

Petworth in Sussex
Harleston in Norfolk
Ticknall in Derbyshire
Llandeilo in Carmarthenshire
SRUC in Dumfries
SRUC in Dumfries (Under Plastic)

Most maize growers have good bulky crops this year but with the cold spring and wet Autust the maize harvest is going to be later this year unless we get an Indian summer that accelerates maize matureity reckons Neil Groom , Technical Director for maize specialists Grainseed.

Farmers Weekly Maize Dry Matters 2015 Week 1 (213Kb)

Modern maize varieties can achieve increases in crop dry matter of 5% or more in September so if we get an Indian summer with bright sunny weather and good drying winds we could see a rapid acceleration in maize maturity. If this occurs growers ned to look at crops at least twice a week.

Grain maturity of early drilled crops on good sites in East Anglia and along the South Coast are currently at the cheesey ripe grain stage, making crops 2-3 weeks away from harvest. On more challenging sites with less heat units then cobs have swollen grains and the very start of starch lay down with a hint of yellowing in the grains, these crops are probably 5-6 weeks away from harvest reckons Neil.

Growers are encouraged to wait for full maize maturity to ensure that quality silage is clamped for winter feeding of livestock or as AD feedstock. As maize matures the sugars in the plant are converted to starch in the grains which is more stable in the clamp and drives production.

With good maize stocks left from the bumper year in 2014 most growers have some carry over. Don't allow this to be buried in the back of the clamp when the new season maize comes in but reclamp the residue so that it can continue to be fed and the new maize can be sealed for 6-8 weeks before feeding so that full fermentation occurs.