Maize is a valuable feed crop and when grown properly it will produce high yielding, high quality feed. However maize is also very susceptible to competition from weeds and insects, which if left unmanaged, will severely reduce the yield of a crop.
Your local Technical Field Representative can advise you on effective crop protection.
The key to good weed control is a preventative approach. Weed control starts with the spray-out of the previous crop or pasture. The objective of the spray-out is to control all existing weeds, especially the difficult ones, so they don’t become a problem in the maize crop. The corner stone to the spray-out programme is glyphosate, but glyphosate alone won’t always control all the weeds present. This may necessitate the addition of other products to the traditional glyphosate base.
This has proven to be the best way to protect the yield of your crop. Waiting to control the weeds after the crop has emerged with post-emergence herbicides can result in yield loss. Most pre-emergence programmes are based on a mix of acetochlor and atrazine and while generally effective this programme is not necessarily the right option for all growers. Talk to your local Technical Field Representative for advice on pre-emergence weed control.
Even with robust pre-emergence weed control programmes, some crops, especially those grown in maize on maize paddocks, will need a follow-up treatment with a post-emergence herbicide. These crops in particular are prone to weed escapes from species not well controlled by the pre-emergence products.
In other situations a post-emergence treatment can be required where cool, wet spring conditions delay the time taken to reach row closure, allowing late weed strikes to come through after the residual period of the pre-emergent herbicides has passed. In both situations the choice of herbicide will depend on the weed species present, the size of the weeds and the growth stage of the crop.
During the establishment phase maize plants are particularly susceptible to slug, snail and greasy cutworm damage so it’s important to monitor for these pests. If slug or snail damage is found, apply bait as soon as practical.
In paddocks with a history of slugs or snails, it is often advisable to apply a preventative application. If greasy cutworm damage is found, apply an appropriate insecticide immediately. Through crop development army caterpillar and corn earworm can become significant problems if left unchecked; monitor the crop and take action if necessary.