As maize growing season approaches, farmers must keep some vital factors in mind to attain a successful, high-quality crop. To achieve a flourishing yield, the maize seed drilling process must be carried out with utmost care and attention from preparing the land to sowing the seeds - nurturing the best possible environment for growth.
Our Top Tips
Here we’ve comprised some crucial reminders to keep in mind when drilling maize:
1. Remove soil compaction if conditions allow. You must take into account the weather conditions before taking any action. Currently, there are many wet fields that would not subsoil effectively, whilst lighter fields would. Maize dislikes compaction, and over-compaction can result in a poor yield.
2. Avoid overworked, fine seedbeds, as well as cloddy seed beds that do not give good seed coverage. A medium-grade seedbed is best in this situation.
3. When preparing a suitable seed bed, it’s important to ensure that the drill’s press wheels do a good firming-up job around the seed for good soil-to-seed contact. This can be achieved by rolling the seed bed if it is too cloddy. Preserve moisture by keeping cultivations effective with minimum interventions.
4. Drill based on soil temperature, not the calendar date! Soil temperature should ideally be at 8-10 degrees Celsius and rising at 3-4 inches depth for a week before drilling maize.
It is recommended to take the temperature around breakfast time in the morning. Temperatures should be checked frequently for any changes. Especially in wet and cold conditions, it’s essential to monitor fluctuations in soil temperature, as they can change rapidly.
5. Check the long range forecast for local frosts. Frost can be fatal to maize, especially when the growing point is above the ground at the 4/5 leaves stage. Check the forecast for any risk of frost before drilling. Whilst frost damage is generally rare, crops affected may find it difficult to recover.
6. Don't delay drilling when conditions are right. Early-drilled crops usually deliver the best yields and allow for the earliest harvest dates. When the conditions are suitable, don’t hesitate in drilling as not doing so could be detrimental to your crop’s yield.
7. Investigate soil moisture levels before drilling. The ideal sowing depth is between 2-2.5 inches, but drilling should be carried out into moisture. If necessary, drilling slightly deeper will ensure that the seed reaches moisture, which is crucial for germination.
8. Use a phosphate-based starter fertiliser for a better yield. In cool spring weather, a phosphate-based starter fertiliser can provide an added advantage. The fertiliser should be placed 2 inches below the seed depth for greater effectiveness.
9. Monitor soil temperatures and weather conditions. Every farm and its fields are different, and you must be able to judge your individual situation before drilling; that way, you can ensure that drilling is done when the soil is in perfect condition.
Get the Most From Your Crop with Grass Science Seeds
Successful maize cultivation depends on many variables, and the maize seed drilling process is a crucial step in achieving a rewarding yield. With these expert tips in mind, farmers can ensure that they are well prepared for drilling whilst making the most out of the growing season.
For more information on how our team can help, contact us today.