Seed breeder Limagrain has an ongoing trials programmeto evaluate the performance of different varieties of maize when grown underplastic. In the 2013 trial, all Limagrain varieties emerged successfully thoughthe plastic cover and went on to produce mature plants. Of particular note wasthe performance of varieties: Ambition, Asgaard, Beethoven and LG30.211.
Limagrain has been conducting maize under plastic forthe past four years. Last years trial of 44 varieties was sown near Newark inLincolnshire on 22 April, and harvested on 16 September.
The highest yielding variety in the trial was LG30.211which delivered 18.8t/ha of DM, and had reached 29% DM at harvest. Limagrains Tim Richmond explains: Although not on the NIAB list, LG30.211 isthe best-selling variety in Holland and its high digestibility makes it verypopular with Dutch farmers.
The earliest maturing variety was Ambition, which hada DM content of 35% at harvest and yielded 17.7t/ha. Ambition yielded 0.1t/hamore than late maturing old favourite Justina and 1.1t/ha more than Benicia,another late maturing variety from the Continent.
Mr Richmond adds: Ambition was the biggest sellingvariety in the UK last year and these trial results serve to show how robust itis it consistently performs well both when sown in the open and underplastic. Award, another Limagrain variety, has also continued to be reliable,acting as the control variety in both the UK and Irish trials.
The best compromise between earliness and DM yield wasprovided by Beethoven and Asgaard (a new variety due to be NIAB-Listed in2015). They were both harvested at a DM content of 31%, with Asgaard yielding18.4t/ha DM, and Beethoven, 18t/ha.
For more information on recommended varieties forgrowing under plastic, farmers and contractors can visit www.limagrain.co.uk and download the newVariety Selection Guide which includes data on all the varieties on the 2014NIAB List. The Guide also includes information and variety recommendations forgrain maize and AD plants.