Are you ready for your maize harvest?

As I write this I’m already hearing the first crops of maize have been harvested, and if you haven’t yet harvested your maize, are you ready with everything you need for when the contractor arrives on farm?

Despite the cold, then wet, spring which meant a later drilling period than normal, some high yielding crops are expected this autumn.

When you harvest your maize, just like your wholecrop, harvest when the grain/cob is right, not the plant.  Ideally this is around 32-25% but if the plant is still a bit green harvest it. If you wait for the plant to dry your grain will become too dry and less digestible. As it is being harvested ensure that it is cracked well and once back at the farm consolidated well. 

I know they will not like it, but if you need to slow your contractor down, do it!  You are the one paying the bill!  I’ve seen clients who have had problems with unstable pits and mycotoxins in their maize. The answer was the trailers came in too close together, so the pit operator just pushed it all up in one big rush without compacting the pit properly.

The crop should be added in layers of 3-4 inches at a time and then rolled, rolled, rolled!  Ideally have a second tractor on the pit just to roll.  Leaving this until the end will only roll the top layer/s and not compact further down the pit.  If your contractor has one, why not try and hire a silage compactor from them, as this can really help with silage compaction.  The tighter the material is in, with the minimum amount of oxygen, the better.  Once the pit is full try to get it covered and sealed, free of oxygen, as quickly as possible so the fermentation process can begin.

Remember that you really should leave your maize crop six weeks before you start feeding it. If you need a little extra  feed in the meantime, i.e. a moist blend, DBL will happily source these alternatives for you.

So, do you have the inoculant you want to use, the side sheets and the top sheet to cover the pit as quickly as possible, followed by nets, and then gravel bags to get the pit sealed ready for fermentation?  All these can be supplied by DBL, with recommendations for inoculants, sheets and nets from a variety of suppliers.

If you’d like to discuss your maize harvest requirements, then please call FAR registered Dairy Nutritionist & CowSignals® Master Andrew Jones on 07717 442888 or email