It’s time to consider Forage Maize for the coming season as we head through March and on towards sowing time. We thought it wise to write to you as a key Maize Contractor in the region, with a few ideas and observations which might prove beneficial to all involved in the Maize Crop, in particular the farmer – end user. Remember that Forage Maize is cheaper than first cut silage, but only if we achieve decent yields per acre. As Contractors, you have invested heavily, and like ourselves its vital that we work together to ensure the very best outcomes for the farmer.
❇️ Ensure a proper Seed Bed. Sowing maize into soil that has been poorly prepared, where there is not sufficient depth (15 CM) of soil with a fine tilt and is firm, is not helping the crop off to a good start. While we seldom recommend rolling after sowing, if the seedbed is not firm and soil is not making sufficient contact around the seed, rolling after should be considered. (obviously rolling after is not an option where plastic is used.) If in doubt take advice before rolling.
❇️ Remember Maize will not grow without the soil being 10 Degrees or more. Where seed is sown before that and is sitting in a cold wet seed bed for a long period, germination will be negatively affected and seeds may be lost to rot and disease .
❇️ Remember different varieties and even different Lot Numbers of the same seed variety may have different size seed. It is vital to check seed pack label for seed size category and to adjust drill to accommodate accordingly. Where this is not attended to, there will be doubles and or skips along the plant line and again this will impact negatively on the crop outcome.
❇️ Where sowing under plastic on a well prepared seed bed, be aware of too fast a forward speed! This will often cause soil to spin in over plastic and over the seed planting line. Where this happens and while the small and delicate maize plant might initially come through the plastic, they often falter thereafter due to the stress of coming through that extra lair of soil on top of the plastic.
❇️ When sowing Maize under Plastic, check spray nozzles regularly. Check spray tank filters also in case of blockage. Some of the older chemical (non branded) options have a tendency to block sprayer filters. Where a problem with weed control is caused by the above issue, there is little can be done after to solve this problem! Weeds in maize is really not a good outcome for farmers. There is a major negative impact on yield & quality.
❇️ Where possible remind farmers before leaving after sowing the crop to check the crop again themselves regularly over the next month to 6 weeks. Resistant weeds can often emerge and become a problem and where seen on time are easily dealt with. Trace element deficiency going unnoticed as the crop starts to really grow, will have a big impact on final outcome if not treated. The need to check crops for Eye Spot disease in late June is also vital. Again, if sign of Eye Spot is present and not seen and treated, it can devastate a good maize crop.
❇️ Please ensure that Operator / Driver is wearing Gloves & Masks when handling seed & chemicals and to wash hands when the job is finished and always before meals.
Wishing you a good and safe sowing season.
For Jordan Agri
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