Maize harvesters have taken to the fields early this year, with machines out and about in the south of the country. The early harvesting conditions should allow for good quality in the pit.

Mark Troy, a contractor from Bandon, was cutting some of the first of the maize in the country on Monday and Tuesday. The 50ac crop was sown in mid-April under plastic for a local dairy farmer.

The agricultural contractor was happy with the yield and quality of the crop, saying: “It’s hard to estimate, but I’d say it was doing 23-24t/ac. Dry matter is quite good and there is a very good cob on it this year. There is definitely one good cob, maybe 2 handy-sized cobs on some plants. Quality is very good and there is still a good leaf on it.”

Troy expects many farmers to be cutting in the coming days.

That was our first crop; from now on, towards the end of the week and the start of next week, we will be getting busy cutting maize.

The acreage of maize grown in the country at present is approximately 11,000ha. Troy expects the acreage to increase next year, noting: “The acreage on that farm was the same, and the acreage in general is still the same, but I would expect it to increase next year with the increase in milk price.”

Forage harvesters haven’t got a break from grass silage and the cutting of maize has begun.

We still have a small bit of grass silage to complete. We have one or two jobs left.

Troy also cuts some spring barley and is finding it difficult to work in the poor weather conditions.

“Spring barley is cut but we have a lot of straw to bale. The weather is desperate this year to get through work. There is very little straw baled. We need two or three dry days and we’re just not getting them.”