Yields of between 10-12t/ha from a spring crop are behind the surge of interest in growing maize for grain production, says Andy Stainthorpe of Pioneer.

Demand for the grain comes from the animal feed market, continues Mr Stainthorpe. “One of our varieties, Justina, is used by horse feed manufacturers. It is flaked or micronised and included in the rations.”

A favourable site is required for growing maize, he advises. “The ideal is to produce a crop with low grain moisture. So things like height above sea level and soil type are important.”

All the Pioneer maize varieties are hybrids, he points out. “For grain production, yield, standing ability and ear retention are desirable characteristics. Justina and PR39K13 offer these traits.

Potential downsides include an increase in fusarium throughout the rotation and a late harvesting date in October, he ends. “Despite these, the acreage has increased.”