Six new first-choice varieties have been added to the British Society of Plant Breeder’s 2021 Forage Maize Descriptive Lists (DL), published today (1 Sept). Charlotte Cunningham reports.

The varieties Resolute, Conclusion and Trooper from Limagrain, Farmunox from DSV, Ability from DLF and KWS Artikus from KWS are all new entrants onto the Favourable Sites DL, while the Less Favourable DL, aimed at ‘marginal’ growing conditions, sees the addition of five new varieties – Resolute, Farmunox, Ability, Conclusion and Trooper.

Favourable sites

Commenting on the new varieties NIAB forage crop specialist Ellie Sweetman highlights the continued improvement of forage quality achieved for growers in all conditions and locations. “On the Favourable Sites List, KWS Artikus is the earliest maturing of the new first choice additions with an average 36.2% dry matter content at harvest across the trial sites. It also has the highest starch on the list at 35.4%. Farmunox is the latest maturing of the new varieties but still achieves 31.2% DM. Resolute is at the top of the List with an excellent dry matter yield of 19.0 t DM/ha and good cell wall digestibility at 60.6% at 32.5% dry matter.”

Conclusion is a strong all-rounder with excellent yields (18.6 t DM/ha) for its maturity (33.0%), an ME at harvest of 12 MJ/kg DM and a very good standing power of 7.7, she adds. “Trooper is also a strong all-rounder, providing a very good ME of 11.84 MJ/kg DM, starch at 34.3% dry matter and an excellent standing power of 8.1. Ability also scores 8.1 for standing power, a character of increased relevance in recent years, with second highest dry matter yield of the new varieties at 18.8%.

“With increasingly prolonged periods of both dry and wet weather during the growing season, the importance of a range of forage sources has become even more pertinent. Using the Descriptive Lists to identify high ME, digestible maize varieties with good starch content that grow well in your location and conditions can help ensure forage use is optimised with efficient conversion into meat and milk that meets demands of processors.”

Less Favourable sites

There are five new contenders to the Less Favourable DL; Resolute, Farmunox, Ability, Conclusion and Trooper.

Growers looking for highly digestible, good quality silage in more challenging growing conditions should look for varieties with good early vigour to make best use of a shorter growing season, says Ellie. “Resolute, Farmunox, Ability and Conclusion all yield above 18 t DM/ha with Trooper standing well at 8.0 with good starch at 33.8%.”

Very Favourable sites

Three years of trial data now make up the standalone, ‘Very Favourable’ Descriptive List. Some of these varieties are also found on the Favourable and Less Favourable Forage Maize DLs but others, including some later maturing varieties, are unique to this new List, notes Ellie.

“Varieties on the Very Favourable DL may be suitable for producers growing to maximise yield as a feedstock for anaerobic digesters where sites have a long growing season and very favourable conditions. It’s important to note however, on other sites, varieties from the Favourable or Less Favourable Lists may be better suited to the growing conditions.”

The BSPB 2021 Forage Maize Descriptive Lists are available to download from the BSPB and NIAB websites from 9am on 1 Sept 2020.