Small mistakes with harvest management can lead to costly results. Getting the details right at this stage will help to ensure all the resource that has been invested in growing the crop, doesn't go to waste!
Dr Simon Pope
After graduating from UCW Aberystwyth with BSc Hons in Agricultural Botany, Simon went on to achieve a PhD from Imperial College London, researching the Sclerotinia Diseases of Arable Crops.
His career began in 1984 on a field trials station in Wiltshire, before moving to the Pathology department of the National Institute of Agricultural Botany, Cambridge.
In 1990 Simon took on a more commercial role as a crop protection specialist covering Cheshire and North Shropshire.
Since joining Wynnstay in 2000, he has been responsible for the company’s crop protection activities and also fulfils the roles of Maize Product Manager and Silage Additive Product Manager.
When growing high yielding varieties, often other agronomic features such as disease resistance are sometimes overlooked. The fungicides at our disposal today are capable of producing extremely good results, but it is important to apply as much thought to the fungicide programme and timings as to the choice of product, to achieve optimum yield potential.
Over recent years, the emphasis has moved away from reactive fungicide applications to treat visible disease in the crop, and more towards a strategy where prevention is better than cure. To achieve this, the fungicides must be applied at the correct time and early in the development of the disease, or even before infection occurs, with timing infl uenced by growth stage, weather and the variety’s disease resistance.
To achieve the maximum potential yield, crops need to be provided with the correct balance of essential nutrients throughout the growing season.
High yields come from achieving the correct leaf and shoot numbers, maintaining a green leaf canopy that intercepts 90% of the light and through achieving an increased number of grain ears and large grain sizes.
That's easier said than done when dealing with a crop exposed to the elements and other factors that may limit potential. However, a significant factor is a balanced crop nutrition programme, including the right levels of nitrogen, potassium, phosphate, and sulphur.
Posted in Agronomy
Inclusion of maize in the dairy ration has long been favoured by many dairy farmers and with the current costs of other crops and inputs, 2022 represents an even better opportunity for maize.
When your maize is ensiled at the recommended DM of 32 to 35% there is still enough sugar present for fermentation to achieve a stable low pH.
Maize has a low buffering capacity so the pH falls fast, often to a pH as low as 3.5. Natural fermentation can often result in much higher proportions of acetic acid and ethanol, an indication of a less efficient fermentation which could b
Remember to maintain your focus on getting the best returns from forage maize crops even after the growing season is over. All too often, it is easy to think that the majority of the attention to detail with maize needs to go into growing the crop, but that's only half the story.
When it comes to producing good quality, nutritious silage small things can make a big difference. This is especially true of mistakes. A shortcut or a small oversight can ultimately result in silage that is unusable due to insufficient dry matter content or worse, silage that is dangerous to herd health because of mould growth and the likely presence of mycotoxins or Listeria.
Many farmers have come to accept some issues, particularly with mould, as inevitable and as a necessary evil. The reality is however, it's all too often caused by someone committing one of a number of silage "sins".
Grassland management is often overlooked for new leys, but by prioritising weed control early during establishment, you will achieve cost-effective, long-lasting control, resulting in higher yields of grass.