Monday of this week marked the beginning of the 2013 forage maize harvest with farmers and contractors in Counties Kilkenny, Wexford and Wicklow busy in the fields. As had previously been predicted, crops of Justina have been the earliest to mature this year.

“It’s shaping up to be a bumper harvest, Maizetech’s John Foley told Agriland.

“I am hearing reports of crops coming in at 20 tonne to the acre. On that basis yields are up at least 10 per cent on 2012 with cobs coming in at 50 per cent plus dry matter. This should equate to an overall crop dry matter value of at least 33 per cent in silo. Starch levels will also be exceptionally high. Initial figures on the overall feeding value of this year’s crops will be available before the end of the week.”

John went on to confirm that farmers should take every opportunity to get the most out of this year’s forage maize crops.

“Crop development is about a fortnight ahead of what might be expected in a normal year,” he continued.

“What’s more, most fields are under moisture stress at the present time. As a consequence, even an inch of rain over the coming weeks would do little to damage ground conditions. My clear advice to growers is not to rush this year’s harvest. There is a unique opportunity now for maize growers to maximise the value of this year’s crops. And they should obviously take it!”

Co Down tillage farmer Allan Chambers agrees that 2013 will turn out to be a record year for maize.

“Our 60 acres of crop was sown out under plastic in the middle of April. I can safely say that it is the best maize we have ever grown. Most of it is standing over nine feet in height. Weather permitting it will be harvested in the middle of October,” he confirmed.