Approximately 40,000ac of maize have been planted out in Ireland this year. According to Maizetech’s John Foley, this is on a par with previous seasons.
He told Agriland: “Approximately 85% of crops have been sown out under plastic.
“For the most part, crops were sown out in excellent conditions during April.
“But a combination of rain, sleet and continuous night-time frosts during the entire month of May, wreaked a heavy toll on crops.
“Those under plastic were held back significantly with a number grown without cover having to be replanted due to severe frost damage.”
Future planting of maize
Foley said that the experience of this year may well deter any growers from planting maize without a cover in the future.
But the good news is that a combination of readily available soil moisture and excellent levels of heat, have served to boost crop growth rates significantly.
“Most crops are where we would expect them to be at this time of the year,” said Foley.
“In fact, many of those established under plastic have tremendous potential to yield very heavily in the autumn.”
According to the Maizetech representative, the vast bulk of the field work is now completed, where maize crops are concerned.
He explained: “Weed management is controlled at planting and during a six-week period thereafter.
“Recent years have highlighted a problem of eyespot on sites close to the sea. This is particularly so in fields where maize has been grown on a continuous basis. The salt air may be contributing to the problems.
“Farmers have the option of spraying for the problem, as required.”
Foley also confirmed that increasing numbers of Irish farmers are growing maize to produce grain.
“Yields of between 5t and 6t/ac can be expected. Driving this trend is the fact that corn prices have increased so quickly over recent months,” Foley explained.
“A year ago corn could be purchased locally at around €170/t. The equivalent figure today is €240.
“Going down the grain route is a decision taken at time of planting, as it is very much a variety dependent option.
“Grain production leads to the discarding of the rest of the crops, which can be worth up to 20% of its total value.”
The Maizetech representative concluded: “Where silage is concerned maize crops can yield up to 8t of dry matter [DM]/ac. The forage is now regarded as an indispensable component of most winter milk operations in Ireland.
“The forage can also drive performance within all beef finishing enterprises.”