Modern maize varieties could bring benefits to livestock farmers particularly in years when forage is short, according to Nickerson Direct’s John Challans.

“At a time when forages are in short supply and wheat for wholecrop production has become expensive, maize has provided a vital lifeline for many hard-pressed dairy farmers,” he explained. “Despite the lack of moisture availability since they were drilled, some varieties have established well and gone on to produce excellent crops.”

Lincolnshire dairy farmer Ian Robinson feeds a 90% maize diet to the 120-cow herd all year round and despite dry conditions this year he has enjoyed particular success with maize, with the latest High Digestibility Intakes variety having reached a height of 2m by the end of the first week in July, at which time the crop was well on course to be harvested at the end of September.

“The aim of Limagrain’s HDI varieties is to increase the energy value of the whole plant maize silage, to increase milk production and reduce the level of concentrates in the ration,” explains Mr Challans. “Half of the whole plant energy comes from the leaves and stem, with the other half from the energy associated with the cob. This is a far more balanced supply than with traditional forage varieties.

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