Growers have a choice of maize varieties for next spring
Nine new varieties have been officially approved for 2023 growing season by the British Society of Plant Breeders.
The 2023 Forage Maize Descriptive Lists includes new entrants Saxon and Dignity, both from Limagrain; alongside KWS Anastasio and KWS Pasco, both from KWS; as favourable first choices for growers.
Debalto (KWS) and ES Myrdal (Grainseed) have been added to the favourable second choice list. Dignity, Saxon and KWS Pasco also feature on the less favourable first choice list; with Debalto added to the less favourable second choice list.
Cranberri CS (Grainseed), Smoothi CS and Abrisse, both from Lidea France; have been added to the very favourable descriptive list.
The very favourable list is based
on trials where breeders test later
maturing varieties with the highest yield potential. It for producers looking to maximise yields for anaerobic digesters where sites have a long
growing season and very favourable conditions.
The favourable list uses trial data from sites with the longest potential growing season, with warmer spring soils for early establishment. The less favourable list is based on the performance of varieties in shorter, cooler growing seasons.
Forage maize has faced significant challenges over the past few years.
Cold spring have delayed sowing and tested early vigour. Prolonged drought conditions and high temperatures have challenged growth, with some high levels of lodging and some very wet conditions delaying harvest.
Of the new varieties, Saxon has the highest yielding on the favourable descriptive list, says NIAB forage crop specialist Ellie Sweetman. It yields 19.8t/ha dry matter, has a metabolisable energy (ME) yield of 231 kMJ/ha and starch yield of 6.50 t/ha.
But Saxon also has with some susceptibility to eyespot so is less suitable in damper growing conditions. KWS Anastasio is the next highest yielder at 19.6t/ha dry matter, an ME yield of 226 kMJ/ha and starch yield of 6.26t/ha.
It also has good standing power and eyespot resistance. Meanwhile, KWS Pasco has the highest starch yield across the entire descriptive list at 6.66t/ha, a dry matter yield of 19.3t/ha, good standing power and eyespot resistance.
Less Favourable sites
Of the Less Favourable DL varieties, KWS Pasco sits just behind Resolute with a yield of 19.0 t DM/ha at 33.4% DM, starch at 34.6% and very good resistance to eyespot, says Dr Sweetman.
“Dignity and Saxon both yield well at 18.7 and 18.9 t DM/ha respectively, and starch levels at 33.6% and 33.4%, but both have some susceptibility to eyespot. Dignity is the earlier maturing with 35.1% dry matter at time of harvest, Saxon at 34.0%.
“Both have good early vigour so would be suitable for good quality silage in more challenging growing conditions where fungicides are used to control eyespot,” says Dr Sweetman.
Very Favourable sites
Of the three varieties added to the Very Favourable DL Smoothi CS is the highest yielding at 19.5 t DM/ha with a good ME yield, good early vigour and good standing power.
Abrisse is the earlier maturing at 35.5% at harvest with a yield of 18.6 t DM/ha. Cranberri CS achieved 19.2 t DM/ha at 34.4% dry matter. The ME yield is an important factor for achieving high biogas yields.
The BSPB 2023 Forage Maize Descriptive Lists are available to download from the BSPB and NIAB websites.