Getting land back into production quickly after a maize harvest can be the difference between having a crop for the spring that can be utilised or having expensive land out of production for a period of time.
As bare soil is vulnerable to soil erosion and nutrient leaching, planting the correct species is definitely the best way to prepare for winter. If a maize crop is to be followed by maize using a catch or cover crop provides not just additional valuable forage but also prevents leaching of valuable nutrients.
Every day that a maize stubble field is left open, the greater the risk of nutrient loss and the less chance of establishing a cover crop. Any crop should be established the day of maize harvest, or as soon as possible after.
Although growth of overwinter crops will be relatively slow due to lower temperatures and short day lengths, considerable biomass production is still possible. Yields from overwinter crops can be up to 8t DM/Ha.
When not taken for forage the crops provide valuable organic matter to the field increasing moisture retention and providing improved fertility due to the release of retained nutrients.
Over winter green cover crops deliver environmental benefits including soil retention, wildlife habitat creation and nutrient retention. The reduction in soil loss when compared to bare maize stubbles is important. Phosphate in the soil is typically strongly bound to soil. Soil loss from the field will result in phosphate loss.
If looking for a crop to establish after maize then the choice of species is crucial. Late sowing can be difficult for non-aggressive options.
Aggressive, fast establishing grasses are the best option as they will get away well before winter sets in. Either of these options should be sown before mid October but dependant on weather conditions.
For more information about crops after maize please speak to your local ForFarmers account manager, call 0330 678 1200 or enquire online here.
Our analysis of first cut grass silage from across the country paints a promising picture for dairy farmers, with greater milk potential in this year’s crop despite slightly lower ME values compared to last year.
After analysing this year’s silages the results show that acid loading is higher than usual. We would therefore recommend feeding RumiBuff.
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