December 21, 2017
Making maize choice a simple task
Despite the sheer number of maize varieties on the market, choosing which to grow for forage or biogas need not be a complicated or time-consuming task, stresses forage crops specialist, Brendan Paul.
Maize variety choice has been made even easier this season, he believes, with the widespread availability of two outstanding new early maturing varieties – Avitus and Gatsby – alongside established grower favourites Ruberia and FieldStar. And for those looking for later maturers, Salgardo and Atrium continue to stand out.
“For me, maize variety selection is simple,” Brendan Paul insisted. “In most cases, it’s a choice between one or two decent varieties that mature at the right time for the farm conditions.
“Although it won’t come onto the national forage maize list until 2019, Avitus is setting a new standard in very early maturing maize in official trials with a favourable site fresh matter yield almost 3t/acre (15%) above Rubeira with a similar drymatter and ME. Well above average in its early vigour ratings, the variety is showing notably low eyespot levels and good stay-green abilities.
“Joining the list this season, Gatsby is the first variety we’ve seen that shares Atrium-like performance with the early maturity of Fieldstar,” he continued. “Yielding over 23 t/acre in the field at 31.8% drymatter with an ME of 11.4 MJ/kg DM on the favourable site list, it has plenty of early vigour with above-average eyespot resistance, excellent standing power and the ability to stay green once ripe.”
Like Ruberia and Fieldstar, both Avitus and Gatsby are available with the root-boosting seed treatment, Take-off that Agrii trials across five sites have shown delivers an average increase of more than 7% in dry matter yield and 10% in energy yield per hectare.
Brendan Paul is adamant that the best agronomy is essential to make the most of every maize crop. In addition to Take-Off seed treatment, he advises:
- Minimising compaction at every opportunity and relieving any compacted areas ahead of drilling;
- Placing a starter fertiliser like Maize Kicka treated with P-Reserve to maximise early phosphate availability in a band just below and to one side of the seed;
- Increasing sowing rates from the standard 110,000-113,000 seeds/ha where sowing conditions are poorer or earlier than ideal;
- Ensuring the best micro-nutrition alongside first class weed control throughout the establishment phase; and,
- Employing Opera for its performance-improving physiological as well as disease control value.