Maize Trial Update


Well almost two months into our maize trial and I thought it would be good to report back on what we are seeing at the trial site at Mortimer’s farm close to the mill. I think it’s important to have an overview on what is happening in our trial and protocols that have been followed.
Firstly the trial site soil indices are up in the 2’s for phosphate and 3’s for potash and the whole site has been treated the same with slurry applications and 50kg/ac of DAP down the spout and 100 units of N in the seedbed. The trial plot has been drilled with four rows of each individual variety of maize trialled along with a control, this variety is being grown in the rest of the field.

Early on in the trial it was very apparent that most of the varieties were good for showing early vigour which is one of the most important things I think from a farmer’s point of view, you want the maize to be up and away as soon as possible the interesting thing for me now is to see how the later varieties in the trial plot seem to have left there earlier cousins behind at this stage. I suppose if you think about it the fact that the later varieties usually yield higher this does make a lot of sense.

I think it’s important to think about why we grow maize in the first place is it for yield or for starch (energy)? Total energy yield from the crop has to be the key driver in determining which variety to choose because this will also determine that the crop grown will reach maturity and enable you to harvest at a reasonable time of the year.

Just to try and explain that two varieties with different yield potentials Arcade and Yukon (both on the recommended NIAB list). Arcade has a yield expectation of 17.2 tones DM/ha @ 11.7 ME which equates to 201240 MJ per hectare, Yukon has a yield expectation of 17.5 tones DM/ha but @ 11.3 ME which equates to 197750 MJ per hectare. If we take that 5.5 MJ’s of energy equate to a litre of milk even though Yukon is the higher yielding variety because the quality of Arcade is better the difference between the two could be as much as 635 litres of milk per hectare.

That’s enough from me but just to say if anyone is interested at looking at the trial plots then contact any of the team and we/I would be happy to show you around the plots whenever is convenient.

We will also be running a famer evening 2 to 3 weeks prior to harvest which all will be welcome to see the final outcome of the trial.

Mark Tucker
M 07703 734530