Thursday 18th September 2014 saw the inaugural hosting of CMC’s first Maize trial plot to which a big thank you must go out to the Mortimer family for allowing us to host it on their farm.
Around 30 farmers took time out to come to the site to hear Bright Seeds talk through the varieties on display and Roy Eastlake and from lallemand looking at the process of ensiling to get the most from the crop.
The trial site, which is at 250 feet above sea level and on red soil, showed that the early varieties were ready for harvest whereas the later varieties were not, some may even have been four weeks away. There was also a distinct difference in cob size; some of the cobs on the early varieties were up to 30% smaller, this would add up to a considerably less amount of starch and DM produced per Ha. For the majority of sites growing maize in the South West I feel, along with agreement from many of the farmers in attendance, that the 3 main varieties of interest were Zarlix, Norwixx and Arcade. These 3 varieties showed good plant to cob ratio, good cob size, cob maturity and consistent cob size throughout the trial plot – Arcade being the most uniform of all.
For those of you on more favourable sites I would say there would be interest in MAS 17E as this is a later variety which you would benefit from increased DM and starch yield.
An interesting point raised by our friends at Lallemand, which sounded very interesting, was residual chop heights, they stated that increasing this from the usual 13 inches to 18 inches would impact fresh weight yields by approximately 0.6 tones/ha but would have a positive effect on ME by 1 and increase DM by up to 2%. I feel that where weed is a problem this should be considered and also on a continual maize field it could be a good way of incorporating more stubble back in and improving soil structure. However, where yield is compromised I think it is something our farmers will find hard to leave forage out in the field.
We will be analyzing all the trial plots when harvested and I will update on progress next issue.
If any of you are interested in booking these varieties for next year we have some good deals on offer so please give one of our forage team a call.