Growers wanting to produce top quality forage next year should act now to undoharm done to soil structure during 2012, says Wilson Hendry of foragespecialists Grainseed.
Inparticular, compacted and smeared soils could be storing up problems for futurecrops unless they are dealt with over the next few weeks.
Wheregrowers chose the right varieties for their individual location includingheight above sea level, heat units and exposure, most maize crops performedwell with high quality and good yields in 2013.
Butconditions in which crops were drilled were generally very poor and there liesthe problem.
Becausethe wet conditions of Autumn 2012 continued right through to the followingSpring there was no real opportunity to flatlift land and use a subsoiler toget proper heave in the soil structure, he says.
Evenwhere a subsoiler leg did get through there was not as much shatter as in adrier soil, so most people have some degree of soil compaction now.
Anycompaction severely limits maize growth and you wont get big, bulky plants ifroots hit a smeared, denser zone at the level where the cultivator has workedand wet conditions can easily cause this.
Tofind out how much of a problem this is, you need to get a spade out and dig ahole, he advises.
Pansare usually visible at around 12 – 18 of depth so the key is to assess theextent of the problem now and use any dry weather in the next few weeks toremove these.
Ifyoure on heavier land, spread farmyard muck and plough it in before Christmasso the weather can do the cultivation for you rather than burning lots ofdiesel next Spring.
If you subsequently identify you have a pan andits dry in February, you can then run the subsoiler on top of the ploughedground to remove it.