Agronomy

Agronomy

Growing economical and environmentally sustainable yields of top quality maize remain a key requirement of growers be that for grain, silage or biogas production.   MGA Agronomy resources continue to provide technical advice aimed at growing great crops at a cost that ensures members maximise returns. MGA agronomy advice includes information on variety choice, seedbed preparation, weed control and harvest etc.  MGA agronomist advice is available free to members.

 
 

Resources: Agronomy

MGA Site and Maturity Group Selector

Friday, January 22, 2016

It is said that we often need to be told something three times before we listen and it is with this thought in mind that I once again want to talk a little bit about what the MGA council feel is very important for the future of the crop.  Please accept my apologies if you have already got the message.  I most certainly do not want to teach granny to suck eggs, however I do believe the external pressure on the crop is there and that it is the MGA’s duty to best prepare growers for the challenges ahead.   So what is the message?  Put simply, soil erosion from maize stubble or any other crop (including grassland) for that matter is unlikely to be tolerated in the future, with penalties, which will be scaled up for repeat offences, deducted from Basic Payment Scheme monies. 

MGA Variety booklet 2016

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The MGA maize under film trials

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The MGA maize under film trials results have now been finalised and with so much more to learn from this new and exciting work we asked Neil Groom of the MGA council to fill members in on the background story in the hope that it proves useful.

MGA sets out to defend appropriate maize growing

Friday, October 30, 2015

As indicated in the last mailing, the MGA were disappointed, to say the least! in the content of and lack of consultation about the Soil Associations Runaway Maize booklet published in June this year. We were keen to discuss our frustration about the content and scant acknowledgement of work that the MGA and others are doing to address the very real issues identified. 

Over a couple of days in late September, John Morgan from the MGA office team took the opportunity to visit both the Soil Association (SA) and National Farmers Union (NFU) to set out our views.

MGA Variety lists for 2016

Friday, October 30, 2015

Key harvest tips for 2015

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Maize harvest will be soon upon us and with this in mind I have taken a look back at previous harvest guides to dig out the some key points to consider.

The recent and largely sensationalist negative publicity put forward by the Soil Association in particular prompts the first focus that being the ongoing and well publicised MGA policy that:

All maize stubbles should be managed to avoid soil and nutrient loss over the winter months.

Basic Payment Scheme Soil Management requirements

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

January 1st 2015 signalled a significant change in Basic payment rules associated with soil management.  The new 2015 rules also apply to all agri-environment schemes and the payments received by them.

Changes:

See article attached

 

 

MGA Harvest guide

Thursday, August 27, 2015

 With harvest activity in mind, we have reviewed and updated where necessary, the MGA Maize Harvesting Guide.  We make no apologies for starting this year’s guide with Post Harvest Maize Field Management advice, believing that this area of crop agronomy is vitally important if unhindered maize growing is to continue.  As always we would encourage growers to make use of Simon and John to talk through specifics of harvest if required.

MGA Herbicide guide

Monday, May 11, 2015

Sulphur trial results & spray options

Monday, May 11, 2015

Simon Draper summarises the MGA sulphur trial results and also spray options for this year.

Nitrogen timing on maize

Friday, April 17, 2015

In this second technical note focused on the need for sufficient Nitrogen to optimise crop yield, and as a consequence dilute fixed growing costs, John Morgan focuses on the timing of Nitrogen application to maize ground.  

Cover crops for maize

Friday, April 17, 2015

The interest in cover crops continues to grow, not least due to the inclusion of oversown grass cover crops as one of the five options to meet the Ecological Focus Area (EFA) requirements for Greening within the Basic Payment Scheme.

 

 

 

Top tips for maize in 2015

Friday, April 17, 2015

For those who have still to apply organic manures to their maize ground, there is still time, although the application rates will now need be to relatively low to ensure that when ploughed under a thick, anaerobic decomposing layer of material, giving off excessive amounts of hydrogen sulphide,  is not created.   Hydrogen Sulphide gas will kill maize roots that are trying to grow, leading to delayed crop development. 

 

Costs of forage production

Friday, April 17, 2015

John Morgan has updated the costs of forage production for 2015

Nitrogen on maize

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

“Maize is Not a Legume” Such a comment is made in response to the commonly held belief that maize has the potential to fulfil its yield potential with little or no applied nitrogen. 

Maize does need nitrogen in a similar way to any other, non leguminous crop, yielding similar volumes of dry matter (DM).  If the nitrogen requirement is not met, either via the soil, organic manures or inorganic fertiliser then crop DM yield will suffer.  

Conference paper - Hans S Ostergaard

Friday, February 27, 2015

Hans gave the conference delegates an update on Danish Maize research, particularly the work on undersowing cover crops and reducing soil nutrient loss.

Conference paper - Professor Mike Wilkinson

Friday, February 27, 2015

Mike talked us through what you need from your maize for the dairy cow and an AD plant.

Conference paper - Mark Wells

Friday, February 27, 2015

Mark (Farm Manager for GEO Gittus) spoke to delegates about Symonds farm in Suffolk, the cropping rotation and how he is getting to grips with eradicating blackgrass. 

Conference paper - Jane Thomas

Friday, February 27, 2015

Jane from NIAB talked us through the history of eyespot in maize and the process of testing varieties for their susceptability.  

Conference paper - James Bell

Friday, February 27, 2015

James, from Rothamsted Research gave delegates an update on two pests that threaten maize crops.  The European Corn Borer and the Western Corn Rootworm.

Conference paper - Simon Draper

Friday, February 27, 2015

Simon updated us on the latest results for the herbicide trials undertaken in 2014 and also explained how the new cross compliance rules will affect maize growers.

Conference paper - Neil Groom

Friday, February 27, 2015

Neil talked about the MGA/SAMCO "maize under plastic film" trials conducted in 2014. 

Conference paper - Oliver Knowland

Friday, February 27, 2015

Oliver gave us a summary of the Biogas trials from 2014

MGA Maize Variety Booklet 2015

Monday, December 22, 2014

The New Cross Compliance Rules for Soil

Monday, December 1, 2014

Members will hopefully be aware by now that the green Soil Protection Review (SPR) booklet which has been around since 2010 will no longer be required from January 1st 2015. Before putting it away one last time however, you should note that there is a continuation sheet for the 2014 year, which needs completing before the end of the year. 

Autumn Cultivations

Monday, December 1, 2014

For fields destined for maize in 2015, decisions have to be taken as to when and how to cultivate in order to provide the best chance for excellent crop growth. 

To make this cultivation decision, the current structure of the soil needs to be investigated via the digging of soil inspection pits (holes) in several spots around the field. Care should be taken when excavating to avoid the spade compacting or smearing the soil to be inspected.  Pits should be dug to the depth of the top soil and the un-compacted spade full or “spit” of soil carefully removed for detailed examination.  

European Maize - Status of the maize crop around Europe

Monday, December 1, 2014

John Morgan & Simon Draper represented the MGA at the European Maize Meeting in September, here is John's report on the status of the maize crop from participating countries.

How Much is Maize Worth?

Monday, September 29, 2014

One of the most common questions being asked of the office team at the moment involves quantifying the value of maize silage, be that for sale or purchase.  The prompts for the questions are varied, although a common theme seems to be the imminent threat/opportunity of an anaerobic digester in the area.  We are more than happy to try and answer the questions that are asked and thought it may also be useful to summarise our views on the various options, in the hope that it proves valuable. 

European Corn Borer

Thursday, August 28, 2014

A recent request by Dr James Bell, a researcher at Rothamsted Research Association for any information we have about the spread of the European Corn Borer (ECB) during 2014 has reminded us that the warm dry weather we have been experiencing recently, while not good for maize eyespot, which needs wet and cooler conditions to develop, is ideal for the spread of ECB. 

The Common Agricultural Policy Reforms

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The reforms to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will bring about change in many areas of farming in 2015. There will be the transfer from the Single Payment Scheme (SPS) to the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS), with its new Greening rules, as well as changes to Cross Compliance.  While the fine details have yet to be finalised we thought it may be useful to have a summary of what we know so far. 

The summary has been produced by Laura Gude who works with John at Creedy Associates.  The information presented is to the best of our knowledge correct.  That said, we would urge you to seek individual advice to clarify the facts as they relate to your business.

Maize eyespot

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

With the window for spraying rapidly closing, (the maize crop being waist high) now is the time to decide whether maize eyespot control should be undertaken.

Post emergence weed control for maize 2014

Thursday, May 29, 2014

With the maize now emerging it is vitally important to ensure good weed control at the early stage of the crops life and any tiny weeds should be controlled - do not wait until the weeds are as big as the maize as yield losses will have already been caused. 

Simon Draper lists the herbicides available and the weeds they kill.

 

Cover crops for maize

Thursday, May 29, 2014

John Morgan has written a useful article for anyone contemplating over sowing their maize this year. 

With June fast approaching, now is the time that growers should start thinking about oversowing their maize with a green cover crop, that will soak up nitrogen, which if left may well leach to the groundwater.

Useful work in this area continues to be undertaken; both in the UK where DEFRA funded work being undertaken by ADAS, Rothamsted, North Wyke and the MGA on two sites and across Europe.  Leading this oversowing work are the Danes, who as a consequence of the greening options associated with the agricultural support, have legal obligations to oversow much of their maize ground.

 

How much maize have I got?

Thursday, May 29, 2014

During the summer of 2012, the tough year that most of us will want to forget, the MGA produced a mailing which enabled growers to better quantify the volumes of maize they would harvest and as a result make them better able to think about alternatives to fill the clamps, sooner rather than later.  The technical note proved very useful and for this reason we have reproduced it here to aid those keen to better monitor crop performance as this year progresses.

update No 6 - Post emergence applications of nitrogen to the maize crop

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Simons latest update on fertiliser applications to the growing maize crop.

14th May Maize Agronomy Update

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Simon Drapers 14th May Maize Agronomy Note is now avaiable. 

Agronomy update 30th April 2014

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Simon Draper's latest update on drilling maize this Spring.

17th April 2014 Agronomy Update

Monday, April 21, 2014

Simons latest update is available by clicking on the link. 

14 April Maize Agronomy Update

Monday, April 14, 2014

Follow the link to download the latest update from Simon Draper MGA agronomist. 

Ten tips for growing maize in 2014

Friday, April 4, 2014

Neil Groom, MGA Council member and director of Grainseeds Ltd has written a very topical and helpful article listing 10 top tips for growing maize this year.

Key maize growing issues

Friday, April 4, 2014

Simon Draper gives us an update on maize growing issues this year, including whether to plough or not, what sprays are available, seed rates and fertiliser requirements.

MGA Weed Star Chart 2013

Friday, May 24, 2013

Simon Draper has updated the MGA weed star chart, which is included in the mailing, its a very useful, easy to use guide.

 

Weed control in maize 2013

Friday, May 24, 2013

Maize drilling has been moving on a pace and with the slightly warmer temperatures in some parts of the country; maize has already germinated and has reached the 1 - 2 leaf stage.

Get out and take a look!

Maize under plastic in South Devon

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A visit to Graeme and brother Patrick Cocks farm nr Ashburton in Devon confirmed one of the key benefits of establishing maize under plastic. 

Graeme and his team were cultivating and drilling maize on the April 5th being able to take advantage of the dry if not cold conditions to get crops in the ground almost a month before many would consider establishing maize without film cover.

Drilling maize this spring

Monday, March 25, 2013

As you all know maize does not like compaction of any sort and so it is going to be a challenge to try and get a reasonable growing medium in many fields. This technical note will, hopefully give you some ideas as to how to go about producing a viable seedbed for this year’s crop.  Finally, a word of caution as each field should be treated individually, please take the enclosed suggestions as general rather than definitive advice.

Costs of forage production

Monday, March 25, 2013

John Morgan has updated the costs of forage production for grazed grass, grass silage, maize wholecrop, fodder beet kale and Italian ryegrass.

Lessons learnt from 2012

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

John Morgan reviews the maize season of 2012 and discusses the lessons we can learn from a bad maize growing year.