Tips for getting the most from your maize crop
MAS Seeds MASTROP maize can be harvested fresh after 70-75 days or you can wait at least 90 days to harvest it for dryer grain. In the savannah areas harvest is generally occurs between the months of November and December. For the forest areas, maize harvest is August during the high season and then January for the low season. Here are some recommendations for your maize harvest:
- Dry maize harvest should be done when the grain is tests between 15% and 20% humidity.
Waiting too long may increase the incidence of fungal diseases on the cobs which will degrade the quality of the maize produced.
- Fungal infected maize can be very bad for your health if it is used for human or animal consumption.
Harvest Best Practices
To maintain the quality and preserve yield there are ways to protect against losses.
When harvesting fields by hand:
- Pick only the ears that are on the plants.
- After picking remove the husks, to keep only the cobs with the grain.
- When you have the cobs, spread them out on tarpaulins or in cribs to dry them.
- They will be considered very dry when their humidity level is between 12% and 15%.
- You can store the cobs whole or shell them to keep only the grains. Then put the grains in bags for storage.
Using a mechanical harvester:
- When using a mechanical harvester control the speed of your machine well to avoid damaging or breaking your grain.
- Adjust the cutting height to avoid harvesting soil or stones.
- If maize is to be used as fodder for animals, the whole plant is harvested, crushed and then stored under closed tarpaulins without contact with the air. This is called silage.
- For silage, maize must be harvested between 32% and 35% dry matter.
- If the maize is too dry, then the quality of the fodder will not be good for animals.
Conserving and Using Your Harvest
You can use your grain maize for different purposes. For human food, animal feed or to sell it to industries that will transform it to make beer, glue, starch, biofuel, etc. It is important to keep your harvested grain in a dry, well-ventilated place, away from light, humidity, insects and rodents. Avoid putting your grain stored in bags directly in contact with the ground – opting instead to store it on pallets or gratings.
To get agronomic advice or buy seed, contact your local MAS Seeds representative.