Maize acreage continues to fall
SAMCO Manufacturing has indicated to Farming Life that approximately 45,000 acres of maize have been planted out in Ireland this year.
The Co Limerick-based operation manufactures the 3-in-1 machine that sows the maize corn seed, sprays a pre-emergence herbicide on the soil and lays a thin layer of degradable mulch film over the crop.
“That’s down from a figure of 70,000 acres three years ago,” the company’s Robert Shine continued.
“There’s no doubt that growers have been put off given the very challenging harvest conditions that confronted them last year and in 2010.
“However, the demand for maize remains as strong as ever. Both dairy and beef farmers recognise the value for the forage in livestock diets.”
Samco also manufactures the plastic that is used to provide maize crops with a germination and growth boost in the early stages of its development.
Approximately 90% of maize crops grown in Northern Ireland are established under plastic.
“We are finding that a number of maize growers who have not used plastic up to this point are using film this year, as a means of encouraging earlier harvest dates and heavier yields,” Robert further explained.
It is also apparent that a significant acreage of maize has been planted out this year with the aim of selling the harvested crop as a feedstock for anaerobic digestion (AD).
Robert Shine again: “Maize is the most energy dense forage that can be grown under Irish conditions. As a consequence, it will be extremely attractive for AD operators.”
Robert also confirmed that this year’s maize crops are currently looking pretty well.
“The warm spell at the end of May helped immeasurably,” he commented.
“We have had a lot of rain over recent days: what we need now is a return to warm sunny conditions. Assuming that the weather holds up reasonably well over the coming weeks, the first of this year’s maize crops will be ready for harvest before the end of September.”
But maize is not the only crop tickling the fancy of Samco at the present time. The company is looking at the feasibility of growing soya under plastic as a new forage crop option.
“And the early indications are quite positive,” Robert Shine confirmed.
“We are working to identify the type of degradable film that best suits the crop. Soya is extremely high in protein. Under Irish conditions it may well be possible to grow it commercially as a spring sown option with the aim of ensiling it towards the end of the summer.”
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Weather for Belfast
Monday 20 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 8 C to 14 C
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Wind direction: North west