Our work Improving Maize Practices

Improving Maize Practices

Maize receives a lot of bad press, however, it is an essential crop for many farm businesses in the Wye. In order to ensure it does not impact negatively on local watercourses there are several simple techniques which can be implemented to protect your soil.

Partnership approach in the Wye

The Wye & Usk Foundation, Field Options, The Norman Partnership, Cranfield University and Dwr Cymru Welsh Water have all been working together to increase uptake of undersowing maize. Since 2014 over 400 acres of maize has been undersown in Herefordshire.

Partnership approach in the Wye

In 2016 the Wye & Usk Foundation and Field Options sought funding from Dwr Cymru Welsh Water to build a precision drill to improve the accuracy of undersowing maize. Local contractor Roy Price sourced the tool bar and coulters from Weaving Machinery and constructed the inter-row drill.  

This technique has multiple benefits. As well as helping to meet Cross Compliance requirements it retains soil nutrients, reduces soil erosion by improving soil structure with an active root mass, builds fertility, builds organic matter and widens the harvest window.

There is now a fleet of four undersowing maize drills available across the Wye & Usk catchments. They are offered as a complete service, with seed, drill and drivers all co-ordinated so it is really simple to make the most  The cost is on average £30/acre.

The undersown grass can yield 3t of Dry Matter per hectare. This can provide a valuable winter-spring grazing opportunity with >1,500 ewe grazing days/ha or >300 heifer grazing days/ha. These yields easily justify the cost of undertaking undersowing.




Neil Duggan, Field Options – 07557 988 858

Jonny Pugh, Wye & Usk Foundation – 07825 743 447

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