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.
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.
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.
Posted in Maize
Growers are being urged to monitor maize crop nutrition throughout the growing season, to make sure they reach their full potential.
Dr Simon Pope, Wynnstay crop protection manager, says ideally the nutrient inputs for sowing and establishment will already have been applied, and plans should be made regarding the maize crop nutrition throughout the rest of the season.
The last three maize seasons have had the same result – a mixed bag of performance depending on region, drilling date and harvest timings. However, in 2020, growers had a new challenge to contend with.
The removal of the maize seed treatment Mesurol left a hole in the crop protection armoury, resulting in crops being at greater risk from bird damage, which in previous years would not be high on the list of issues for most growers.