Thursday, November 15, 2018

Manage harvest carefully to make most of maize

September 3, 2018 by  
Filed under Crops

Variable maize crops ranging from stunted, dried-up plants to perfectly healthy looking fields are giving growers a real harvesting conundrum this year – requiring extra attention from farmers.

Some crops on the poorest drought-stricken land have already been harvested to salvage any semblance of quality and bulk. For other growers, one of the big problems is the amount of variability within the same field, says Grainseed technical director Neil Groom.

“If growers still have crops that look dry with shrivelled leaves, even after the recent rain, these will not recover and it is probably best to take them out and sow something like Westerwolds to get a forage crop ahead of the winter. Most other crops should be salvageable.”

Dry matter

Growers should get right into crops to make an assessment. From the roadside, some crops look like a write-off with small plants and sun-scorched leaves. But further in the field they have only lost 10% of their total leaf area, dry matter is 25% and they have good cob set.

“You could get in another short crop and the dry matter is already over 30% and only a half of the cob has set,” says Mr Groom. “After a bit of rain though, the dry matter could go down and the plants will continue growing towards maturity.”

Assessing the right date for harvest is not going to be easy. Growers should be guided by the cob as much as the plant dry matter content this year. That’s because early die-back and poor cob development is complicating the situation.

A crop with 34% dry matter, for example, may only just be forming starch. Its real dry matter from a cob ripeness point of view would still be in the low 20’s. Harvesting now will mean losing out on  starch content that drives milk production – while risking acidic silage.

Forager settings

Once you’ve decided on the right time for harvest, it could also be worth making a couple of changes to your usual cutting management, says Mr Groom. Another consideration is chop length, he adds.

“With a shorter plant, it’s worth cutting as low as you can to get as much material for the clamp as possible. The lower you go the more lignin there is and the lower the digestibility, but if you’re facing a forage shortage, it’s worth taking a bit more than you would normally.

“A chop length of around 12-15 mm will allow for better consolidation in the clamp which will improve fermentation and overall stability. You should also plan to run two tractors with buck rakes on the clamp to ensure consolidation is as dense as possible.”

When it comes to making sure the fermentation process is as complete as possible, a good oxygen scavenging additive could be well worth the investment. For the same reason, a really good oxygen barrier is a good idea for fully sealing the clamp.

studiopress

barbour pas cher barbour pas cher barbour pas cher barbour pas cher barbour pas cher golden goose saldi golden goose saldi golden goose saldi golden goose saldi golden goose saldi doudoune moncler pas cher doudoune moncler pas cher doudoune moncler pas cher doudoune moncler pas cher doudoune moncler pas cher moncler outlet online moncler outlet online moncler outlet online moncler outlet online moncler outlet online