09 October 2023
Despite July being one of the wettest on record and August's low light levels, maize yields are forecast to be significantly higher than the previous year, which was impacted by a very dry Spring. Manor Farm will be no exception to this, with yields expected to be more than 30% up on the 2022 harvest. The more volatile weather conditions caused by climate change make harvest more challenging. This year’s September is no exception, with two record weeks of hot weather sandwiching a week of torrential rain.
The timing of the harvest is critical and directly impacts the dry matter of the maize and, therefore, the ability to produce good silage, which in turn has an impact on gas yields. Chop length is also a vital factor in optimising gas production when the crop is later fed into the anaerobic digester tank.
For the last five years, Manor Farm used Ag bags to store much of its maize harvest. This year, the AD plant will benefit from three new silage clamps that will add over 20,000 tonnes of additional silage clamp space. The clamps have an ARC wall system that allows higher stack height and is also rated to allow larger, heavier tractors to be used in compaction. The ARC wall system will enable better clamping and enhance the quality of feedstock. The new clamps will reduce cost and provide better environmental protection by comprehensive leachate capture, which is difficult to achieve using Ag bags.
Roy Taylor, the partnership farmer, uses a John Deer 9900i forager to bring in 27,823 tonnes in just 13 days, working between the weather windows to optimise dry matter.