The British Society of Plant Breeders has published its 2020 Forage Maize Descriptive Lists, with significant new varieties suitable for a range of growing conditions.
The list, published annually, provides growers with information on parameters including dry matter yield, starch, metabolisable energy (ME) and digestibility.
The performance of each variety is set against favourable or less favourable growing conditions within the suitable maturity range for a farm’s location. Five new first-choice maize varieties have been added to the favourable site list and six to the less-favourable site list.
Ellie Sweetman, Niab forage crop specialist, said a highlight of this year’s new varieties was the range of maturity, improving choice for growers in all conditions and locations.
New varieties for favourable sites
- Smoothi CS
- KWS Calvini
“Prospect is the earliest maturing of the new first choice additions, with a 35.1% DM content at harvest. It also has the highest ME at 11.98 MJ/kg DM and highest starch at 34.6%,” Ms Sweetman said.
Smoothi CS is the latest maturing at 29%, with an excellent 19.3 t DM/ha and good cell wall digestibility at 57.8%.
LiRoyal is a good all-rounder with excellent yields (18.5 t DM/ha) for its maturity (33.3%), an ME at harvest of 11.72 MJ/kg DM and very good standing power.
“KWS Calvini scores top for standing power – a character of increased interest after 2018 saw more lodging than growers had experienced for more than 20 years,” Ms Sweetman said.
Abrisse is a strong all-rounder, providing good ME and starch at 30.9% DM.
New varieties for less-favourable sites
- KWS Calvini
- RGT Stewaxx
- DSP 46132
For less-favourable sites, Ms Sweetman said it was important for growers looking for highly digestible, good-quality silage in more challenging growing conditions to select varieties with good early vigour, to gain a head start in a shorter season.
The newly added varieties were good all-rounders, with yield potentials all exceeding 18t DM/ha, combined with good starch and ME yields, she added.
The full lists are available in PDF format from the Niab website.