Maize forms a key element of ration for prize-winning herd

Part article taken from The Northern Farmer, April 2017, written by Wendy Short.


In its April issue, The Northern Farmer magazine reports on how Northern Yorkshire milk producer Peter Baul has succeeded in growing maize for his herd. Below features agronomist Sam Luty's input on the topic.

Sam Luty of Agrovista has included new variety KWS Cito to the maize cropping programme for this spring.

Cito, an ultra-early with an FAO of 150, is one of a new generation of short-season hybrids which have improved early vigour and higher yield and starch content potential, compared with many previous varieties.

Ensuring that the crop will mature in time for an early harvest is a main priority, to reduce the risk of soil damage and to allow an opportunity to sow winter cereals.

"A good crop of maize can consistently be produced at Watergate Farm, but its Northerly location means that ultra-early varieties are the most suitable," said Mr Luty.

"The shorter growing season of these types make maize growing a far more reliable proposition in a marginal situation.

"The plant breeders have responded to market requirements by producing earli­er-harvesting varieties without sacrificing yield or quality.

"These will outperform the older types in all areas, and although it is tempting to sow a variety that has worked well in the past, I would recommend trying at least part of the acreage with one that is relatively new to the market."

Maize is fairly straightforward to manage, but it is a 'hungry' plant and one that copes badly with early weed competition, particularly if the plant gets off to a slow start due to low temperatures at drilling,  he added.

While a pre-emergence her­bicide has not been used routinely, a post-emergence application of Elumis (nicosulfuron+ mesotrione) has been used at a rate of l.5L/ha around the 3-4 leaf stage at Watergate.

It will control the farm's weed burden, which includes grass weeds, cleavers, chick­ weed and fat hen.

Mr Baul used the starter fer­tiliser, Maxi-Maize, in 2016 and it produced  visibly good results, so it will be applied again this season, to supply available phosphate to the growing plant, along with nitrogen and sulphur.

The crop will also receive a foliar application of nitrogen, in the form of MZ28, at 6-8 leaves.

"The general advice with maize varietal selection for milk producers is to focus on dietary requirements first; some farms feed high rates of maize silage and will be looking for bulk, while starch con­tent may be more important, at lower rates of inclusion.


"After that, the choice will depend on the individual farm's geographical location, field situation and projected harvest date," said Mr Luty.


27 April 2017

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