Maize Handbook 2018
Drilling Tips & Considerations In addition to variety selection, being successful in growing maize is also dependent on following good agronomy and management practices. Optimal soil conditions at drilling are required to ensure good germination and plant establishment. Modern maize hybrids have a high degree of cold tolerance but should not be drilled before soils have reached an even temperature for 3-4 days (8°C for light soils, 10°C for heavy soils), usually around mid April - May.
Altitude Avoid high altitude sites which are often colder. As a rule, growers should consider 600 feet above sea level to be very marginal, and have a shorter growing season. However, individual fields above 600 feet with lighter, drier soil types that will warm up quickly in spring can be considered. Aspect Ideally any fields selected for maize production should face south, and be sheltered from wind. Avoid fields which are very exposed, or have heavy, poorly drained soils, and any locations which are known to suffer from frost. An established crop at 2-6 leaf stage can be set back 2-3 weeks by a late May frost. Avoid steep sloping fields to reduce the risk of nitrate leaching and soil erosion. Soil Depth To support its bulk and height, a maize plant requires a very extensive root system. Ideally, crops should be
grown where there is a good depth of topsoil. Where the soil is shallower root development may be impaired and produce stunted crops, with resultant lower yields. Crop maturity can also be delayed. The same effects can occur where soil is compacted. Seed should be sown on to a firm base at 3-6cm depth. Use deeper sowing for lighter, drier soils and shallower sowing for heavy sols. Despite this, drilling into moisture is more important than depth. Soil Analysis As maize is a valuable crop with a high demand for nutrients it is important to know the soil pH and available nutrient levels in order to apply the necessary lime and fertiliser to ensure good crops. Maize needs a pH of 5.8-7.0, but the optimal pH is 6.8. The field should be limed if the pH is 6.0 or lower.
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Weed Control Maize can suffer considerably from weed competition during the early growth stages. Ideally, a clean, weed-free site should be chosen. A weed control programme applying either pre-emergence and/or post emergence herbicides can be followed. Fitting in with the rotation Maize can be continually grown on the same ground, if the soil pH and nutrient levels are maintained. Early maturing varieties that are harvested in September can have a wheat or grass crop as a follow on. Maize can also serve as a break crop for cereals. Environmental Considerations Harvesting maize in wet conditions can lead to surface compaction. Maize stubble left uncultivated over the winter months can result in surface water runoff and nitrate leaching into waterways. There is also a particularly high risk of soil erosion where fields are sloping and have sandy soil. If your fields are of a higher risk then consider growing an early maturing variety aiming for an early harvest in better weather, a light cultivation after harvest will encourage rainfall ingression and reduce run off or establishing a cover crop to stabilise the soil surface may be a good option.
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Maturity Class This reflects on how long it takes the plant to achieve 30-35% dry matter. An earlier variety will have a shorter growing season and a higher maturity class number. Alternatively an FAO number can be used, indicating the number of heat units required to reach maturity. The lower the number, the less heat units required.
FAO MC Maturity Site
KWS KWS KWS
150 13 160 10 160 10 160 10
Limagrain Reason Grainseed ES Picker Limagrain Yukon Grainseed ES Lovely
DSV KWS KWS KWS
LiRoyal Severus Aurelius Kougar
170 9 170 8 180 8 180 8 190 8 190 7 200 7 210 6 210 5 8
Grainseed Remington Caussade Belami Limagrain Emblem Caussade Rianni
DSV KWS DSV
Movanna Kompetens Petroschka
CWD Cell wall digestibility gives a value to the rest of the plant that isn’t starch – the leaves and stem (making up 45-55% of the plant). Usually expressed as a percentage, converted into a 1-10 number, each unit corresponds to a 1% increase in cell wall digestibility. This 1% increase can increase dry matter intake by 0.17kg/day.
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ME Varieties with high ME will be more digestible. This will pass through the rumen quicker increasing consumption and production levels. Lower ME levels take longer to process and are slower through the rumen. This is particularly important for rations with a high maize content. Starch This provides the link to cob maturity in the plant. Varieties that are ‘early’ will have more chance of reaching cob maturity, and more starch, than later varieties. High starch varieties are important in rations with low maize inclusion. Maize provides a good source of starch with less risk of acidosis than cereal starch as it has slower fermentation rates. Agronomic factor Total sum of factors – including early vigour; standing power; leaf senescence and eyespot. All values based on an average for both favourable and less favourable sites.
Ag Factor +/- Starch Yield Vs Yield (t/ha)
Ag Factor +/- Starch Yield
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Emblem bred by: Limagrain Superb early vigour and cob maturity with very high ME yields. Excellent standing power ensures a good harvest crop. Maturity: MC 7 (FAO 190) Agronomic factor: 27.8 Recommended Use: Forage/ AD CWD: High Yield: 17.25 50,000 Kernel packs Starch DM Yield ME Yield 32.6% * 31.3% * 196417 MJ/Ha * *At harvest
Yukon bred by: Limagrain
Early cob maturity and stable crop performance, it stands well and has the potential for grain production. It can be grown under plastic in marginal locations.
“A flexible, high performing variety”
Maturity: MC 9 (FAO 170) Agronomic factor: 27 Recommended Use: Forage / Grain CWD: Low Yield: 17.15 50,000 Kernel packs Starch DM Yield ME Yield 33.9% * 33.2 % * 192344 MJ/Ha * *At harvest
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Reason bred by: Limagrain Quick out of the ground and early to harvest. LGAN accredited – High starch and ME yield with excellent digestibility. Maturity: MC 10 (FAO 160) Agronomic factor: 24.1 Recommended Use: Forage CWD: Superb 6.7 Yield: 17.25 50,000 Kernel packs Starch DM Yield ME Yield 32.6% * 35.2% * 196393 MJ/Ha *
Movanna bred by: DSV
A high yielding, tall plant with good early vigour and excellent lodging resistance. Movanna stood out well in trials for good eyespot resistance. Thrives on heavier land.
Maturity: MC 6 (FAO 210) Site Type: All locations Recommended Use: Forage CWD: Medium 5.7 Yield: 19.01 50,000 Kernel packs
Starch DM Yield Yield (t/ha) 29.5% 29.9% 19.01
“Offers sound Eyespot resistance, standing power and top yield for it maturity class”
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Petroschka bred by: DSV Good potential on marginal sites with tolerances to the cold. Offers a high digestible yield making it suitable for Biogas production.
Maturity: FAO 230 Site Type: All locations Recommended Use: Forage or Biogas CWD: Very good 50,000 Kernel packs
Starch DM Yield ME Yield 102 102 Very good
LiRoyal bred by: DSV An excellent maize for a high quality silage that offers a strong resitance to Eyespot and Fusarium. Can also be used as an early Anarobic Digestion choice. Maturity: MC 8 (FAO 180) Site Type: All locations Recommended Use: Forage CWD: Excellent Yield: 18.75 t/ha 50,000 Kernel packs Starch DM Yield Yield (t/ha) 33.9% 28.9% 16.75
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Es Lovely bred by: Grainseed Excellent early vigour that has superb resistance to lodging. Also gives high starch content with a strong ME value. Maturity: MC 9 Agronomic factor: 24.6 Recommended Use: Forage CWD: 5.7 Yield: 17.2 t/ha 45,000 Kernel packs Starch DM Yield ME Yield 33.4% 34% 193000 MJ/Ha
“Ultra early variety with a good harvest window“
Es Picker bred by: Grainseed Suitable for difficult sites or for later sowing, with an excellent combination of yield and earliness. Good early vigour for rapid establishment. Maturity: MC 10 Stay Green factor: 5.8 Recommended Use: Forage
“The variety to use for the less favourable sites”
45,000 Kernel packs
Starch DM Yield ME Yield 28.8% * 30.5% * 199209 MJ/Ha
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“Early starch lay down allows for an wider harvest window”
Remington bred by: Grainseed Good vigour gives the plant rapid establishment. Bulky plant to maximise photosynthesis through wider leaves, but still has good lodging resistance. Maturity: MC 8 Agronomic factor: 25.85 Recommended Use: Forage CWD: Low Yield: 16.65 t/ha “A benchmark for UK variety suitability and remains a popular choice amongst KWS hybrids”
Starch DM Yield ME Yield 30.1% * 32.4% * 182736 MJ/Ha
Severus bred by: KWS A stable yield of dry matter with excellent early vigour on all site types. Offers a high starch and ME content. Maturity: MC 8 (FAO 170) Agronomic factor: 27.2 Recommended Use: Forage CWD: Low Yield: 17.05 50,000 Kernel packs Starch DM Yield ME Yield 32.8% * 32.8% * 192032 MJ/Ha
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Aurelius bred by: KWS Consistently high dry matter yield across favourable sites. Balance between yield and energy content for a high maize diet. Maturity: MC 8 (FAO 180) Agronomic factor: 26.1 Recommended Use: Forage CWD: Low Yield: 17.75 t/ha 50,000 Kernel packs Starch DM Yield ME Yield 31.2% * 32.3% * 199133 MJ/Ha * *At harvest
“One of the earliest maize varieties ever introduced”
Kaspian bred by: KWS A very early variety with good early vigour and maturity on less favourable sites. High starch and ME content. Maturity: MC 13 (FAO 150) Agronomic factor: 23.25 Recommended Use: Forage CWD: 6 Yield: 14.9 t/ha 50,000 Kernel packs
Starch DM Yield ME Yield 36.55% * 38.75% * 170273 MJ/Ha* *At harvest
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Kompetens bred by: KWS Ideal maize for higher feeding inclusion – with a high DM yield of 107%. Has a wider harvest window from stay green nature and a higher digestibility. Maturity: MC 5 (FAO 210) Agronomic factor: 29.8 Recommended Use: Forage CWD: 6.8 Yield: 18.3 t/ha 50,000 Kernel packs Starch DM Yield ME Yield 29.7 % * 29.6% * 206424 MJ/Ha *
“The new standard in maincrop forage maize”
“A stable performer on challenging sites”
Kroft bred by: KWS Good early vigour for heavy soils or later drilling producing excellent silage. Can be treated with Sonido.
Maturity: MC 10 (FAO 160) Recommended Use: Forage CWD: Good 50,000 Kernel packs
Starch DM Yield ME Yield 36.6% 11.5 MJ/kg
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Kougar bred by: KWS Good early vigour, cob quality and size. Balances starch and ME content ideal for free draining soils. Maturity: MC 8 (FAO 180) Agronomic factor: 26.5 Recommended Use: Forage CWD: Low Yield: 16.9 t/ha 50,000 Kernel packs Starch DM Yield ME Yield 32.4% * 33.15% * 190421 MJ/Ha *
“A main stay variety that has always impressed and always delivered”
Sergio bred by: KWS Excellent early vigour for early or later drilling with high starch content and ME. Can be treated with Sonido. Maturity: MC 10 (FAO 160) Agronomic factor: 26.1 Recommended Use: Forage CWD: 7 Yield: 16.25 50,000 Kernel packs Starch DM Yield ME Yield 32.4% * 33.15% * 190421 MJ/Ha * “Versatile and vigorous. Ideal for any site!”
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Belami bred by: Caussade Excellent early vigour and substantial yield Maturity: MC 8 (FAO 190) Agronomic factor: 25.65 Recommended Use: Forage CWD: 8.4 Yield: 17.4 t/ha 50,000 Kernel packs Starch DM Yield ME Yield 29.15% * 30.1% * 197677 MJ/Ha * *At harvest
Rianni bred by: Caussade Maturity: MC 7 (FAO 200) Agronomic factor: Recommended Use: Forage or Biogas CWD: Good Yield: 16.85 t/ha 50,000 Kernel packs
Starch DM Yield ME Yield High 28.55 * High *At harvest Large uniform cobs and high starch content make Rianni ideal for a lower maize inclusion ration.
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To produce a good crop, maize plants need to grow very rapidly once they have germinated. They will do this providing the soil moisture and structure are good, the temperature is warm and nutrition is adequate. Maize can easily produce 50t/ha of fresh weight in a period of four months. To support this rapid growth it has a large demand for nutrients and any shortage will restrict early growth and final yield. Although established crops have a well developed root system, root growth is slow in the early days of the crop, especially if the weather is cold. Poor root growth means decreased uptake of nutrients and this can be a vicious circle as poor uptake of N and P can restrict root growth. For this reason, it is advised that a starter fertiliser is placed close to the seed, even when the bulk of the soil is adequately supplied with nutrients. If you are looking at fields that traditionally suffer from run-off or are prone to erosion, then consider a slightly earlier maize variety
(modern genetics often mean that you won’t lose yield and often gain some quality) and look to place a cover crop in to help scavenge nutrients and stabilise surface soils. This in turn can be used as a green manure, used for grazing or potentially harvested before the following crop. Maize is a very convenient crop on which to apply manure in the spring when there are limited opportunities for spreading on grassland. Be careful that applications do not exceed 250 kg/ha of total nitrogen to conform to the Code of Good Agricultural Practice and NVZ requirements. As maize is a valuable crop with a high demand for nutrients it is important to know the soil pH and available nutrient levels in order to apply the necessary lime and fertiliser to ensure good crops. When the maize field has been chosen a soil sample should be taken for analysis unless the field has been tested within the last 3-5 years. Bartholomew’s provide a complete soil analysis package which allows a tailored approach to nutrient management.
Fertiliser Requirement for Forage Maize
Low Yield 9t DM/ha High Yield 15t DM/ha
Index: SNS 1, 2P & 2K
Field Yield Nitrogen Phosphorus
100kg/ha 45kg/ha 130kg/ha
150kg/ha 65kg/ha 220kg/ha
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Option One: No Organic Manures
Maize Yield 40t/ha N P
K MgO SO 3
125 55 175
Kg/ha of Product
22.5 57.5 0
Top Dress before 3 Leaf Stage
14-0- 24+3MgO+ 11SO₃
102 0 175
Total Kg/ Nutrient/ha 124.5 57.5 175
Option Two: 40 t/ha of Organic Manure
Maize Yield 40t/ha N P
K MgO SO₃
Kg/ha of Product
Ploughed In Precision Drill Top Dress before 3 Leaf Stage
24 76 340
Total Kg/ Nutrient/ha 125 122 340
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It is essential to take crop nutrition seriously when it comes to forage maize in order to optimise the yield. To do this, it is important to know your soils. • Based on soil analysis, we are able to offer nutrient advice and produce a nutrient plan. • Bartholomew’s are able to supply a full range of fertiliser products, from straights to blends, mixed to your requirements. We have formulated products specifically for maize and offer a comprehensive range. Starter Fertiliser To be applied where possible, down the spout and placed near the seed in order to get the maize off to the best start. • Bartholomew’s maize START UP (14N 35P +5MgO + 10SO 3 ) • DAP (18 N 46P) • TSP (46P) Main Fertiliser To be applied in the seedbed and worked in just prior to drilling. Alternatively it can be applied after drilling depending on practicalities and preference. • Bartholomew’s Maize FIX-ONE (10N 3P 28K + 5MgO + 8SO 3 ) • Bartholomew’s Maize FIX- TWO (14N 0P 24K + 3MgO +11SO₃) • Bartholomew’s Maize FIX – THREE (5N 12P 34K + 4MgO + 8SO₃)
Final Fertiliser To be applied, if needed, as atop dressing after weed control (no later than 3 leaf stage) • Nitram (34.5N) • 27N – 9SO₃ Please remember to observe all the relevant Cross Compliance guidelines that are now applicable. There are a number of different things to consider when planning nutrient applications to Maize. On the next page there is a step by step guide which can be followed to achieve accurate understanding of what your crop needs and how to achieve its requirements. Remember: This is only a guide and requirements and nutrient values may differ depending on specific situations. *NPK requirements derived from RB209. MgO & SO₃ requirements adapted from industry recommendations in RB209 (Fertiliser Manual) & PDA booklet (Potash Development Association).
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Step 1 - Decide on your YIELD POTENTIAL EXAMPLE: (Soil indices @ SNS 1, P 2, K 2- & Mg 2) Working on an average of 40 t/ha my maize crop requires... N P K MgO SO₃ 125 55 175 30 60 Step 2 - Choose your STARTER FERTILISER EXAMPLE: Maize Fix 3 (5N-14P-34K+ 4MgO + 8SO3) down the spout @ 360 kg/ha will apply Step 3 - Choose your MAIN FERTILISER depending on ORGANIC MANURE USAGE EXAMPLE: Planning on applying 25 m³/ha of cattle slurry in late spring and incorporating within 24 hours giving Step 4 - Choose your FINAL FERTILISER EXAMPLE: Looking at final requirements, a top up dressing of nitrogen should be applied no later than 3 leaf stage after weed control. 27N - 9SO₃ applied @ 312 kg/ha will supply the reaming balance. N 18 P K MgO SO₃ 44 122 14.5 29 N 23 P K MgO SO₃ 30 63 15 3
Actual nutrients applied:-
Following these guidelines carefully will ensure you get the most out of your maize crop and adhere to the legislation regarding organic manures and nitrogen.
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The varieties offered in this leaflet have been carefully selected to produce successful cropping over a wide range of soil types and growing situations. They represent a balanced mix of the very latest genetics along with some well established standards. If there is a particular variety that you would like to grow that is not listed, please do not hesitate to contact us and we would be pleased to discuss this with you.
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