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Read all the latest news from the agronomy services industry.

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Preparing for Maize

Preparing for Maize

Published: Monday, March 19, 2018
Category: Cereal News

Getting the most from maize largely depends on drilling at the right time and in good conditions.

Getting the conditions right to start with. Ploughing is not always necessary but it can be the only option to remove surface rutting and any compaction closer to the surface. Soil moisture will largely dictate when it is appropriate and at what depth it is done. It shouldn’t be attempted if the soil moisture level at plough depth is too wet, such that it would result in smearing and panning. It is best practice to dig down and assess the soil moisture at plough depth. If the conditions are right for ploughing it is best done as soon as possible (particularly on heavier soils) to leave the turned over soil on the surface to dry out.

Sub-soiling is the next step as breaking any pans is absolutely essential for good root development. Using a sub-soiler to lift and break the ground below the plough level will ensure that roots will not be restricted in depth. The sub-soiler should work just below the plough depth, about 10-12 inches, but this will need to be determined by the dryness of the soil at depth. When subsoiling the moisture and soil conditions at the working depth need to be right to get the most benefit. If the soil can be formed into a ball that does not crack when a little pressure is applied, then it is too wet. Where the optimum working depth cannot be achieved, adjust the working depth to where the soil conditions best suit. Using a sub-soiler with a crumbler roller can go a long way to preparing the seed bed but this will always be followed by a seedbed cultivator.

When to start drilling will depend on soil conditions: temperature and seedbed moisture. Generally in the South West maize should be drilled when the seedbed is at a temperature of 10 degrees and rising. For an accurate reading the temp should be taken at 9.00am at a depth of 50-75 mm every morning to asses this. Maize has to be drilled into moisture so drilling depth must be altered if conditions are dry, don’t be frightened to drill deeper if needed. Consistent sowing depth is vitally important to overall yield and quality so please make sure the drill is correctly set up and forward speed is not too fast, uneven drilling depth will lead to poorer crops.

Your main considerations at drilling are:

· ·         Soil Temperature

· ·         Seed Bed and Soil Structure

· ·         Moisture available

· ·         Short term weather forecast

· ·         Ensuring Consistent even sowing depth

 Timing is everything

 Effects of drilling early

· ·         Slowed germination

· ·         Uneven emergence

· ·         Reduced nutrition uptake

· ·         Could give a 20% -25% seed loss. 

Effects of drilling late

· ·         Later Harvest

· ·         Requirement for early maturing variety

· ·         Increased risk of lodging



Please contact us for more information:

Pearce Seeds LLP
Rosedown Farm
Marston Road

Tel: 01935 811 400
Fax: 01935 816 800