KWS UK launched three newultra-early maize varieties at UK Dairy Day all of which push yields higher inthis growing market segment.
According to KWS UK maize manager,Rob Hunt, around seven in every ten fields are now down to ultra-earlyvarieties.
While undoubtedly driving the cropforward in marginal areas, farmers recognise that they not only improve harvesttimings but also enable faster turn round and benefits for the followingcrop.
Todays varieties ensure there islittle yield penalty and weve also been breeding and selecting for varietiesthat dont compromise quality in the clamp as well.
At the head of the new additions aretwo FAO 160 maturity class varieties, Augustus and Sergio.
While both are just behind FAO 150front-runners Kaspian and Ramirez for maturity, they offer higher DM yields andrapid early vigour on a stay-green plant.
Augustus is set to be the newKaspian and could be a major variety in the UK market, says Mr Hunt.
We have brought it to market afterjust on the back of one full year of NL data an exceptional performance in ourown trials, where it is number one for DMyield in the ultra early segment.
Augustus has an excellent starchcontent of up to 39.6% in trials and an ME content of 11.2-11.5 MJ/kg.
It has rapid early vigour with acurrent score of 7.7, but this can be up to 9.0 on warmer sites. It is a semi stay-green type with a widerharvest window and has full cob sheath coverage
Sergio KWS like Augustus is FAO160 rated and is a newcomer on the 2014 Descriptive List for first choice earlyvarieties for favourable and less favourable sites.
Its a higher yielding Kentauruswith a dry matter yield of 16.2t/ha compared to 15.6t/ha and combines this witha higher ME and starch yield than its sister variety.
The keystand out characteristics for Sergio KWS are its strong ME content at 11.3% andvigour. Indeed,its 8.1 early vigour score under less favourable conditions is the highest onthe DL.
Sergio KWS offers above averageyields for its maturity, from a similar plant type to Kaspian but with aroundwith 10% more DM yield, says Rob. Itis an ideal shorter season hybrid for use as a forage variety or for corn cobmix (CCM).
The third variety, Aurelius isslightly later in the ultra-early bracket with an FAO rating of180. It offers unsurpassed DM in itssector and is a step up on Severus, says Mr Hunt.
Across our work and in early stageNL trials, it is offering DMs across all sites which vary from 110-115% ofcontrols.
In 2013 it was around 5% higheryielding than Severus in our screening programme and in the same trials had anexcellent starch of between 29.1- 38.1% and an ME content rangingfrom 10.7-11.7MJ/kg.
Aurelius also has rapid early vigour from 7.7 in poorer conditions up to 9.0on warmer sites. Like the others it is astay-green type for a wider harvest window.