Drop in maize yields expected this year

Maize crops will not yield as well this year as was the case in in 2014, according to Teagasc tillage specialist Tim O Donovan.

“We just didn’t get the required temperatures in May and June,” he said.

“The computer model that we use reflects the fact that that ambient temperatures in May, June and July will determine the final yields of maize crops grown in this country. But the June period is particularly important in this regard.”

Approximately 90% of the forage maize grown in Ireland is planted out under plastic. O’Donovan confirmed that most crops are looking well at the present time.

“But even maize sown out under plastic suffered during the months of April and May. Cold, poorly tilled seed beds are not conducive to giving maize the best possible start. For the most part, crops are a few inches smaller than those grown last year,” he said.

“And this will impact on final yields. Crops are starting to tassel in the south of the country, which means they have obtained the maximum height they can now achieve.”

The Kildalton-based agronomist said that a number of crops grown without plastic this year may not produce cobs at all.

“We saw this before in 2002. It is a direct reflection of the cold, wet conditions that prevailed when these particular crops were sown out. But we are talking about an extremely small percentage of the national maize area. The vast majority of crops are on target to produce economic yields this year. ”

From an agronomy perspective, O’Donovan said that growers should be on the look-out for Maize Eye Spot disease.

“I am not aware of any outbreaks being confirmed in Ireland this year. But Eye Spot could still rear its head over the coming weeks, particularly if the weather turns wet. In such instances, an elevated sprayer will be required to treat affected crops.”

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