Gearing up for maize drilling

As we emerge from what has seemed like one of the wettest winters in recent times finally some field work is starting to take place. Muck is being spread, grass being cut, fields starting to be prepared and now thoughts turn to maize drilling.

Before we think about drilling, we need to get the absolute essentials right which is to first consider the variety to grow. The difference in maize varieties is vast and many factors influence what variety you may choose to grow. Certainly, for my own customers there has been a re-focus on growing earlier varieties such as Prospect, Trooper and Duke because of the challenging harvest period we faced in 2023. Varieties also vary in other factors that growers may not be aware of, such as vigour, disease, digestibility and starch content. There have also been variations in disease pressure this past year, particularly fusarium. Fusaruim kills the plant prematurely and its prevalence is down to a number of factors including climatic and varietal, Prospect, Ambition and promise have coped very well this year.

Getting seed bed and soil conditions correct is another basic that must be right for a successful crop. There is an acceptance that maize has “lazy roots” so it is important to avoid any compaction and attain deep loose seed beds. Weed pressure needs to be managed where required with caution needed when applying herbicides at high temperatures.

When should I drill? Well, the rule of starting to drill when soil temperatures reach 8°C for five consecutive days or 6°C for maize grown under degradable film should be applied. It is important to note that soil temperatures fluctuate more in lighter soils so forecasts need to be looked at and trying to plant after any forecasted frosts. Maize is a crop that should always be sown into moisture. Drilling depth can vary from 2.5 to 10 centimetres, it all depends on where the soil moisture depth is, although growers this year will not likely need to look deep! Seed rates vary from around 35,000 seeds an acre for grain maize to forage maize at 40,000 seeds an acre on light sandy favourable ground and 45,000 seeds an acre for earlier planting on heavier ground.

Our seed specialists are always on hand for advice regarding choosing the correct variety for your farm and all aspects of seed rates and drilling depths at anytime.

Call Fraser on:
07811 746 589

Super trooper – LG maize thrives in the North East

Just like all of our customers, I get a really satisfying feeling looking across fields that are thriving. From a selfish point of view it’s also very gratifying to think that I have had a small part to play in a crop’s success. Mother nature plays a huge part of course, along with soil type, cultivation technique, drilling date and the subsequent agronomy decisions which need to be made along the way. Choosing the right variety, for the area, rotational slot; harvest date and forage use are where your local Nickerson Seed Specialist can help increase profitability on farm.

The diversity of the LG portfolio is as wide as it is tall, so understanding how best to express the genetic potential of the crop is an essential part of the decision making process.

This crop of Trooper grown in the North East of England, is about two weeks away from harvest and the yield potential looks stunning. The grower needs an early harvest of high dry matter and high starch silage for a beef fattening unit and he needs it consistently year on year. This will be the third year that Trooper has fulfilled the brief and its potential. It’s great on farm – reliable, with decent yields and it is a highly digestible feed crop.