1 October 1999

Use yields to select variety

YIELD is the most important yardstick for measuring success when growing most farm crops but does not receive enough attention from maize growers when selecting varieties, independent nutritionist Hefin Richards told the audiance at a Nickerson seminar at the Dairy Event.

"Maize growing costs are relatively fixed and contractors usually charge based on acreage. Therefore, growing higher yielding varieties is the only way to reduce the cost of production, an important consideration when milk prices are so low."

Maize growers should aim for dry matters of 28-20% at harvesting, not 32-35 as recommended in the past, he advised. "Producing quality silage is not solely dependent on having big, hard cobs; they only supply 40% of total silage dry matter.

"The green part of the maize plant also makes a valuable contribution to overall feed value. Harvesting two weeks earlier than planned will capture more of the useful energy available in this part of the crop," he added.