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Growers should cut as soon as conditions allow

  • Blog
  • 3 min read

The mild winter we’ve seen so far is having an effect on all crops in the UK, not least miscanthus, which in some cases has not senesced fully. Because of the lack of frosts, typical at this time of year, there is evidence of small green active shoots in some crops. The extensive rainfall is also causing waterlogging, meaning access to the land might be compromised.

From the roadside the crop looks brown, but on peeling away the outer leaf it’s possible to see bright green cane in many crops. All growers should take a closer look.

Our advice is to cut as soon as conditions allow, so the crop loses its internal moisture before baling.

Mature crops

Should the mild weather continue, the advice from Terravesta is to cut as soon as conditions allow, in this way the crop in the swath has more time to lose the ‘nature’ (internal moisture) before baling. Green cane might need a fortnight longer in the swath before baling.

Due to the saturated ground, ‘as soon as conditions allow’ means when the machinery can travel without putting ruts into the fields and damaging the soil structure, causing potential future yield loss from compaction.

This may mean a later cutting date than normal for some fields, but on stony, or lighter, free draining soils, cutting can go ahead as normal.
Immature crops
Normal advice on one to three year old crops is to top off the growth (cut back) in Jan/Feb/March- ‘when conditions allow’ (on dry or frosty ground) and apply Roundup before the new shoots emerge end March/early April to control grasses and broadleaved weeds. The advice this year is to top off as soon as conditions allow, but to be sure to assess the land – as compaction can damage young rhizomes.
As with the mature crop, even more care should be taken not to rut or cause compaction. This is vital, as there isn’t a large rhizome established yet to hold up the machinery.
Another word of caution – when topping can be carried out, cut as low as possible to remove the small green shoots/leaves that have not been stopped by the lack of frosts, and thoroughly check the field before spraying any Roundup, as it’s the green growing areas that absorb the Roundup, not brown or dormant material.

Alex’s recommendations:

  • Check the crop closely, and not from the road;
  • Cut as soon as you can without causing ruts, all fields and areas will be different;
  • Inspect all newly-planted crops before applying Roundup – if you’re unsure of anything, please get in touch.

Contact Andy with any queries on: 01522 731 873 or