Poor Season for Growth
While considering Maize crops this year versus the past two years, it is clear that there has been a substantial difference in the growth pattern. Both covered and uncovered crops have had their challenges due to the poor temperatures throughout the growing season and have suffered in different ways.
This year the uncovered crops will struggle to reach the heights of the last two years especially in relation to starch, as cobs are really struggling to form any levels of starch. On the other hand, covered crops are just starting to reach maturity with good starch levels expected even if harvest dates will be later.
Pick the Right Time to Harvest Maize
My advice is to be patient. On examination of a number of crops in the area, they should be ready for harvest around 20 October but again this is dependent on weather. Variety and sowing date will also determine date of harvest.
On examination of covered crops, I don’t expect that they will bulk anywhere near last year’s levels, again as a complete result of the poor temperatures they experienced during the growing season. In contrast open (uncovered) crops look to have bulked up well but will disappoint on the starch front due to poor cob development.
Here’s a blog article that we wrote earlier with a few useful tips before sowing maize called “Points to Consider for Growing a Successful Crop of Forage Maize”.
This image is of a cob from a plastic covered crop sown on 15 April.
This image is of a cob from an uncovered crop sown 22 April.
Cut Green Leaf to Improve Yield and Quality of Maize Crops
In relation to open sown maize crops that have very poor cob development, my advice to prevent corn leaf diseases is to try and cut as much green leaf as possible, but wait for the centre of stems to dry down some more. This is all dependent hard frosts staying away.
As a winter feed and from a nutrition perspective it will be essential for farmers to get the most from their crop of maize as it is sure to be back from what farmer expectations were.
If you have a questions or need advice on maize crop management, why not ask one of our agri experts and we will be happy to assist with all elements of crop management.
- improve yield