Top 10 questions to ask yourself this March to maximise the potential of your maize crop.
- Have you carried out soil analysis?
The first question I ask growers is whether they have soil teted the fields where maize is to be grown, since this will help to identify any nutrient shortcomings which could seriously hamper a crop’s ability to reach its full potential
- Have you worked with your Wynnstay specialist to create a nutrient management plan?
From your soil analysis results, you will be able to work with a Wynnstay specialist to create a fertiliser plan – taking into account other relevant information such as previous cropping and FYM/ slurry applications. Not only will applying optimal levels of nutrients promote crop performance, it also avoids any unnecessary applications – offering financial savings.
- Have you decided which starter fertiliser to use?
Starter fertiliser will promote early root development and is key to rapid establishment. You could use DAP or you could use micro-granular products such as Primary-P. Your Wynnstay specialist can advise whilst discussing variety choice, and by ordering early you will avoid the peak-season demands.
- Are you likely to suffer from soil pest problems?
If your maize crop is to be drilled following established grass it is at risk from pests such as wireworm and leatherjackets. Sonido seed treatment will help to reduce the damage caused by wireworm. But be aware that it may not provide complete control. With the removal from the market of products containing chlorpyrifos (e.g. Dursban) there is now no effective chemical control for leatherjackets in maize. Cultural control is the only measure available and your Wynnstay specialist can offer advice on crop rotation.
- Have you discussed which variety to grow and have you ordered the seed?
To maximise the performance of maize as part of the ration, choose a variety to suit your needs. Our most popular variety this season is Reason from Limagrain, which produces the highest yields of ME of any very early maturing variety in its class.
- Did you know this could be the last year for Mesurol and Sonido seed treatments?
As mentioned earlier, Sonido seed treatment offers some degree of wireworm control. Mesurol has been one of the standard maize seed treatments for many years and is used as a bird repellent and to help to control frit fly. It is quite possible that 2018 will be the last year of use for both these products. With this in mind be careful to order only what you require.
- Has seed rate and sowing depth been discussed?
The importance of seed rate and sowing depth is often overlooked, but it is entirely within your control. For early maturing varieties consider 45,000 seeds/acre to be the standard. If you reduce seed rate below this level you may compromise yield. With regard to sowing depth, ensure the seed is drilled into moisture but remember the deeper the seed the slower will be emergence. Again, your Wynnstay specialist or agronomist can advise.
- Are there any particular weed issues and has your pre-emergence herbicide plans been discussed?
An effective herbicide strategy should be planned in advance and pre-emergence herbicides should be ordered at the same time as your seed. If you have a problem with perennial grass weeds (e.g. couch), or some of the more difficult to control broad-leaved weed species, discuss the most effective control measures with your Wynnstay agronomist.
- Has maize silage additive been discussed?
Increasingly, maize growers who recognise the benefits of using additive as a management tool to protect their investment, are ordering their additive early. By ordering the additive at the same time as the seed, all the key inputs are taken care of, they are ready to use when required and nothing is forgotten. The additive will be delivered at an agreed date shortly before the maize is due to be harvested.
- Are you speaking to your feed specialist?
Advice is available from Wynnstay livestock specialists who will help you get the most from your maize crop at feed-out.
For maize growers who are now experiencing more volatile commodity prices, my advice is to tick off your March checklist, pay attention to detail and don’t over look the importance of return on investment when looking at your input costs.
For more information on managing your maize crop or for more information on varieties,
call 01939 210555 or click here to find your local specialists.
For a bespoke quote, click here.