With maize crops running at least two week later than normal, KWS-UK maize specialist, John Burgess was advising farmers at the Dairy Event and Livestock Show to pay particular attention to cob ripeness when assessing dry matters in the run up to harvest.

Mr Burgess said there would be marked differences between varieties this year, having a marked effect on silage quality. “Aim for good cob maturity with grain at the milk line and avoid cutting too early unless crops are under heavy disease threats,” he said.

Mr Burgess pointed out that KWS actively selects for varieties with good early vigour and an ability to produce early cobs on green slover. This early grain development is important in a season such as this, ensuring high starch contents as well as good whole plant digestibility.

“Early cob ripeness will enable the crop to deliver the desired maturity at harvest and in the case of many early varieties, the plant will dry down prematurely, giving a false impression of maturity and delivering poor ‘D’ values. KWS therefore actively selects for varieties with an even level of green slover and cob ripeness to maximise silage feed value as well as yield.”