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Maize harvesting

Harvesting is set out in optimal terms, which ensure the largest crop harvesting and high quality products. Terms of maize harvesting are set depending on the purpose of crops: grain, silage or green feed

When establishing the usefulness of harvesting this culture the stage of ripeness should be determined. In maize, there are four main stages of grain development: grain growth, kernel milk line, milk-wax, wax and fully ripeness.

In the stage of grain growth, the consistency of the kernel contains a transparent gelatinous liquid, and the moisture content of the grain is 80-90%.

In the stage of kernel milk line ripeness, when squashing the grain, a milky liquid is released, the moisture content of the grain is 55-60%.

In the stage of milk-wax ripeness, the grain has signs of milk and wax ripeness, i.e. when squashing the grain the light liquid and dough-like weight is released. In this stage, the moisture content in the grain is 45-48%, in the stem – 80-82 % and in the leaves – 30 to 35%.

In the stage of wax ripeness, the consistency of the grain is firm, but it is easily pressed by the nail, and at the same time a trace remains. During this period, the lower leaves begin to dry up, the moisture content in the grain is 32-37%, in the stem – 72%, in the leaves – 20-25%.

When fully ripe, the maize grain becomes hard. The leaves, corn shucks and part of the stem become dry. In this stage, the moisture content in the grain is 23-28%, in the stem – 55-60%, and in the leaves – 9-12%.

Harvesting silage corn should be set out at the stage of milk-wax ripeness, when there are 15-20% of plants are of kernel milk line ripeness, and the rest are of wax ripeness.

It was found that 100 kg of maize (stalks and ears) harvested in the stage of kernel milk line ripeness, contains on average 20 kg of feed units, in the stage of milk-wax ripeness – 24 kg, in the stage of wax ripeness – 25.5 kg, and digestible protein of 1.20, 1.22 and 1.31 kg, respectively.

The maize’s dry content in the stage of kernel milk line ripeness is 16-18%. In this stage the plants are most rationally used for feeding in green form, and they not are suitable for silage, so as silage will be very acidic. In this stage, corn does not reach its maximum feed value.

The maize’s dry content in the stage of milk-wax ripeness is 18-22%. In the grain, sugar is converted into starch – this is the most suitable phase for silage. In addition, in this stage growth of the crop mostly ends. In the wax ripeness, the dry content is 23-28%, the lower leaves wither, and some of them already lose their feeding value.

It should be considered that maize harvested for silage, when it contains too little moisture in the leaves, in the stem and on the ear, thickens poorly, grows moldy, and silage turns out to be of poor quality.

Simplified method of accounting for the silage corn yield.

To squash out all the plants on a plot of 10 square meters in two-fold repetition. For this purpose to measure 2 times for 715 cm in a specific plot of a field of each hybrid and to squash out all plants on 2 adjacent rows. To weigh and to register the number of plants received from each plot. Then to remove all ears from plants, to weigh them together with shucks and to register. To determine the percentage of ears in the total weight of plants (the weight of the ears divided by the total weight of plants from the plot and multiplied by 100). The percentage of ears in the total mass equal to 35 is considered good, and 40% and above – excellent).

The crop output per 10 square meters multiplied by 1000 is equal to an output per hectare.