Nine new varieties added to forage maize Descriptive Lists

Grower choice has expanded with nine new maize varieties on the British Society of Plant Breeders’ Forage Maize Descriptive Lists, published this week (1 September).

The plethora of new additions comes despite significant challenges faced by both forage maize crops and Descriptive List (DL) trials, said Niab forage crop specialist Ellie Sweetman.

These have included cold springs, which delayed sowing and tested early vigour, prolonged drought conditions and high temperatures challenging growth.

There have also been high levels of lodging and some very wet conditions delaying harvest.

See also: Maize Watch: Challenging season spells early harvest

Favourable sites

New entrants on the 2023 favourable first-choice list (see “Descriptive Lists debunked”, below) include Saxon and Dignity, both from Limagrain, and Anastasio and Pasco from KWS.

Debalto, also from KWS, has been added to the favourable second-choice list. It sits alongside ES Myrdal from Grainseed.

Dignity, Saxon and Pasco also feature on the less-favourable first-choice list, while Debalto has been added to the less-favourable second-choice list.

Less-favourable sites

Pasco sits just behind existing variety Resolute on the less-favourable DL, with a yield of 19t dry matter (DM)/ha at 33.4% DM, starch at 34.6% and very good resistance to eyespot, said Dr Sweetman.

“Dignity and Saxon both yield well, at 18.7 and 18.9t DM/ha, respectively, and starch levels at 33.6% and 33.4%, but both have some susceptibility to eyespot. Dignity is the earlier maturing, with 35.1% dry matter at time of harvest, and Saxon at 34%.

“Both have good early vigour so would be suitable for good-quality silage in more challenging growing conditions where fungicides are used to control eyespot.”

Very favourable sites

The very favourable list benefits from three new additions: Cranberri CS (Grainseed), and Smoothi CS and Abrisse, both from Lidea France.

Smoothi CS trumps its competitors yield-wise, averaging 19.5t DM/ha with a good metabolisable energy (ME) yield, good early vigour and good standing power, added Dr Sweetman.

Abrisse is the earlier to mature, at 35.5% DM at harvest with a yield of 18.6t DM/ha.

Cranberri CS achieved 19.2t DM/ha at 34.4% DM. The ME yield is an important factor for achieving high biogas yields, she said.

The 2023 Forage Maize Descriptive Lists are available to download from the British Society of Plant Breeders and Niab websites.

Descriptive Lists debunked

The Descriptive Lists comprise three categories: favourable, less-favourable and very favourable.

The favourable list

Aimed at growers who are in good growing locations, but for certain reasons, such as drilling follow-on crops, have to find a balance between maturity and yield.

The less-favourable list

This list is targeted at growers whose primary concern is growing a crop to reach acceptable maturity by a given date.

The very favourable list

Varieties on this list may be suitable for biogas production and using as a feedstock.

Source: Niab