Recent cold spell delays maize planting across the UK

Average soil temperatures are too low for maize planting just yet, warns Simon Preece of Corteva.

He said that the recent dry weather means the land is workable, but don’t be tempted to drill in the open for at least another week or two.

Temperature is paramount for maize and its seed needs soil temperatures to be above 10°C to grow.

This week’s average soil temperature is well under this, and several degrees below comparative readings in the previous four years.

Daytime air temperatures are forecast to reach the early teens, but by dropping back to low single figures at night, soil temperatures will be slow to rise.

maize silage

Preece advised growers to have patience with maize planting:

“All Pioneer’s maize seed undergoes the ‘Pioneer Stress Test’ and [is] tolerant of soil temperatures down to 10°C.

“This test offers farmers the reassurance they need to drill when soil temperatures reach that minimum level, but not before.

As well as inhibiting growth, drilling into cold seedbeds increases the risk of Pythium causing seed and root rot.

“If you’re keen to harvest before the colder weather at the end of the growing season, early planting is not the answer.

“Choosing a variety with an earlier flowering date is a better solution,” he concluded.