Maize is harvested© Tim Scrivener

Maize growers have an array of new varieties to choose from next season, with 29 additions across the various lists offering high yields for forage and anaerobic digestion crops.

Six first-choice varieties have been added to the British Society of Plant Breeder’s 2018 forage maize descriptive list while another nine join the anaerobic digestion list.

There are also new options for farmers growing crops in more marginal growing conditions such as in Scotland, with nine additions for forage and biogas on the less favourable area lists.

See also: Harvest 2017: The 5 top-yielding winter wheat varieties

Niab Tag’s forage crop specialist Joanna Matthews believes all forage maize growers will benefit from the additions, offering high-yield potential coupled with high quality.

Forage maize

Top of the forage list for dry matter yield is LG31211, a later-maturing variety for favourable sites.

It combines excellent yield potential (18.4t/ha dry matter) with a highly digestible cell wall score of 59.3% to create a high-quality feedstuff.

She highlights Gatsby as a good all-rounder with excellent yields for its maturity in all growing conditions, producing high-energy silage with good standing power scores.

Autens is suitable for favourable and less favourable sites, combining great yield potential for its maturity.

“It has a high starch content, which, when combined with its yield, creates one of the highest yielding good starch-rich feedstuff per hectare on the list,” says Dr Matthews.

Another notable newcomer is Bonnie, which is suitable for sowing in a broad range of growing conditions and is listed as a first-choice variety on the favourable and less favourable lists.

Absalon features high yield with good starch levels which, when combined with its excellent cell wall digestibility, creates high-yielding quality forage for all growing conditions.

Dr Matthews points to Belami, a later-maturing variety on the favourable and less favourable lists.

“It combines a suite of desirable characters, including high-yield potential and good starch levels, to produce a highly digestible feedstuff.”

Biogas maize

An expanding area is maize for anaerobic digestion which now accounts for more than 30% of the total area and these growers also have new options with nine additions to the favourable and less favourable lists.

Again topping the list for dry matter is LG31211 with a potential dry matter yield of 18.4t.ha, and a standing power score of 4.3. 

For more, see the British Society of Plant Breeder’s 2018 forage maize descriptive lists.