Archive: Maize evaluation

Published 12 September 14

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We all know maize should be harvested at about 30 to 32% DM for the best results. Piers Badnell, DairyCo technical extension officer, recaps on an easy way to find out the DM level in your maize, and helps you plan for harvest.

Step 1 – Take a sample of a few plants from well into the crop. Do this in several different parts of the field, to get a representative sample. Chop them to a consistency as near as possible to the one you’d get if they had gone through the forager.

Step 2 – Weigh 500 grams of maize and place it in the oven for 7-8 hours on a low heat to dry out.

Step 3 – Take it out of oven and weigh again. Divide this amount by the original 500 grams, multiply this by 100 to give you the DM. See the example below.

For example: 500 grams of maize went into the oven, after 7-8 hours this weighed 140 grams.
140 ÷500 = 0.28. 0.28 x 100 = 28%.

Do this every few days to get an idea of the crop’s maturity progress. This time of year you would expect drying to increase by about 0.5% per day, although this can vary due to weather conditions. Keep checking, using this method, to plan your harvest date, as both a low and high DM leads to loss of potential.