Archive: Maize update

Published 10 October 14

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Matthew Roe milks 400 Holstein Friesian on the edge of Bodmin Moor in Cornwall and grows 150 acres of maize, of which 100 are under plastic.

“We harvested our maize under plastic on 2 October, about the same time as normal. We were delayed in planting, due to the wet spring, but the good summer made up for it.

“Yields are fantastic. Previously, I’d heard people having 20t crops but I never experienced it, however this year we had a couple of fields with yields of about that. Looking at the crop under plastic before harvesting, it looked very similar to our conventional maize crop but, as we began to harvest it, the density and yield of the crop became evident. I’m really pleased with it.

“We’re not quite ready to harvest our conventional maize crop yet, but yields for this crop also look good. I think sowing as late as possible, as well as using a disease spray, has given the crop a real boost.

“When we walked the crop in July we saw no disease and discussed whether to save some money and not spray or go ahead with it. I’m very glad we did spray as the wet August caused disease problems for the crop under plastic which wasn’t sprayed. I hate to think what it could have done to the conventional crop.

“The crop is there but I’m just waiting for the DM to rise before harvesting. This conventional crop also looks fantastic. It’ll be interesting to see what the starch level comes back as.”

Adam Ball milks 200 high-yielding Holstein Friesian cows in Staffordshire and grows 54 acres of maize.

“Apart from one field, we’re ready to harvest the maize and are just waiting for the conditions and contractor commitments.

“We have got this one field way behind everything else, as we had really delayed planting there. The plan was to put maize in after first cut and although we got the first cut off well, we got caught by a period of wet weather which really delayed drilling. It was a bit of a gamble putting the maize in but this summer’s good growing conditions means we should be ok, if a little late!

“Yields are looking good, although not up to the bumper crop of last year. Last year’s good weather across July and August meant we had record yields. Instead, the good weather we’ve had across the autumn has meant that the crop matured earlier than normal. We’re a good two to three weeks earlier than normal.”