22 September 1995

Maize men snubbed by NIABlist

MAIZE growers needs are neglected by the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB) recommended variety list, claims John Hardy of Coop de Pau UK agents Grainseed.

He says growers should be given greater choice of earlier maturing varieties which represent 89% of the UK maize seed market.

Mr Hardy has appealed against the NIAB maize variety lists for 1996 in which varieties Botanis and LG2080 have been dropped to the "others-not recommended" category (see Livestock, p39, Sept 8). NIAB will announce its decision on the appeal next week.

In his hearing, Mr Hardy said: "The NIAB testing system is fundamentally flawed. It does not reflect the needs of the industry. Too many statistical corrections are used for the crop. That is 80% field and brain evaluation and 20% office and computer."

He added that over-mature crops did not reflect the true farm position; the breeding programmes of breeders; or increasing farmer demand.

He claims the objective for UK crops is a harvest dry matter of 30%. Testing crops at higher dry matters (38-40%) favoured later maturing varieties, but by the time early maturing crops were tested the crop was dying. These crops needed harvesting three to four weeks earlier to show their true potential.

He would also like NIAB to record crop quality in terms of digestibility and available energy in its lists. The digestibility of the crop can be converted to ME available in the dry matter.

"For Botanis you get an extra litre of milk for each 10kg of dry matter eaten compared with other varieties," he says.