Korit® Pro Safety Information

Essential safety information for Korit® PRO seed treatment

Download the safety information for Korit® PRO, which contains details of active ingredients and safety warnings, as well as the safety equipment required for using, handling, storing and transporting seed treated with this chemical.

The safety card also contains information regarding good practices for using the product.

Download the full Korit® PRO Safety Card here

 

KORIT® PRO GOOD PRACTICES

For each step, use the safety equipment required!

Transport and Storage

Check that all the bags are intact

During transport, users and seeds bags must be physically separated (ex: in a trailer)

Transport bags in the original packaging

Store in locked up and well-ventilated place. Keep container tightly closed

Dispose of contents/container in accordance with local regulations

Collect spillage

 

Before Sowing (when opening the seed bags and filling the seed drill hoppers)
Avoid exposure to dust

Avoid the transfer of dust from the seed bag into the seed drill hoppers.

Do not reprocess treated seed with additional products

 

During Sowing
When using a pneumatic vacuum seed drill, the dust from the treated seeds must be directed towards the ground surface by using deflectors.

To protect birds and mammals, treated seeds must be well covered with soil, including at the end of the furrow.

 

After Sowing
Do not leave empty bags or treated seeds unusable in the environment. Eliminate them in accordance with current legislation.

Return all unused treated seeds to their original bags and do not reuse empty bags for other uses.

Do not use treated seeds for human or animal consumption or to produce derived products.

Wash your hand and all exposed parts of your body before eating and after work

 

ACTIVE INGREDIENT: Ziram + Mn +Zn
H330 | Fatal if inhaled
H410-H400- H411 | Toxic or very toxic to aquatic life
H317 | May cause an allergic skin reaction
H335 | May cause respiratory irritation
H373 | May cause damage to organs through prolonged or repeated
In case of a medical emergency following exposure to a chemical, call:
NHS Direct in England or Wales 0845 46 47 or NHS 24 in Scotland 08454 24 24 24 (UK only)
Crimped maize can increase feeding options

Faced with escalating fertiliser costs and the prospect of tight feed ingredient markets next winter, the importance of maximising feed output from your own resources will remain a priority for dairy farmers.

According to Richard Camplin, LG Seeds Technical Manager, farmers who are able to grow maize, or who can work in partnership with an arable neighbour who is happy to grow the crop could benefit from increasing the acreage grown this year.

“There is still time to get maize in the ground and it could be used to increase forage output with reduced reliance on fertiliser. Maize requires less fertiliser per tonne of dry matter than grass and a large proportion on maize requirements can be met from slurry.

“Alternatively, it could be used to produce crimped maize to help trim the requirement for purchased starch sources. Careful variety selection can allow a degree of flexibility to be retained about how crops are utilised as the season unfolds.”

He says advances in plant breeding mean there have been massive improvements in the standing ability and disease resistance. New hybrids such as ProspectPinnacle and Resolute now have the combination of improved agronomy plus the advantages of superior digestibility and high starch yield, making them ideal for quality forage and also for crimping.”

If 2022 is a better than average grass growing season so grass silage yields are higher and if maize crops grow well, Mr Camplin the situation might develop where a proportion of the maize could be crimped to help reduce the requirement for purchased starch sources for the TMR.

Crimped maize is typically a 65-75% dry matter feed with 14.0-14.5MJME/kgDM and 60-70% starch making it a valuable ingredient in diets. Having been processed prior to clamping, it is a rumen-friendly feed with a higher proportion of bypass starch.  It can be clamped or stored in AgBags.

 

LG has been running UK trials looking at crimping potential and Mr Camplin advises that variety choice allows flexibility of use to be a real option.

“We ran trials on three locations with an average 27.5% moisture at harvest with the wettest crops being 33%. As the crops are harvested around six weeks after silage would have been taken, it is vital to be growing early maturing varieties and to allow the maximum growing season. So I would recommend not making crimp from later drilled crops.

 

“Early maturing varieties that performed best in the trials are LG30179ProspectResolute and Pinnacle, so growing these varieties would give the option for quality forage or a crimped crop (see table).”

He stresses the importance of selecting a variety suited to the farm and to look for varieties with low levels of disease and high standing ability and lodging resistance. As crops are harvested later it is essential they stand well.  Bad infections of fusarium, for example, can lead to fusarium stalk rot which can weaken the stem and increase the lodging risk.

If a crop is being planted specifically for crimped maize, he advises it is usual to reduce the seed rate to 85,000 seeds/ha. This is primarily to help bring maturity forward but this is less of a concern if an early variety has been chosen as they tend to have good cob maturity. However, having more space and light will help improve cob size and starch content.

“If a grower is interested in growing a crop guaranteed to produce high quality forage but which could be switched successfully into crimping to maximise the contribution from maize the key will be choosing an early maturing variety with good feed quality and the best agronomics.

“In this way, maize can provide a flexible way to meet the challenges of feeding cows this winter,” Mr Camplin concludes.

Crimp grain yields from early maturing varieties 2021

  Fresh Grain Yield Grain Dry Matter
Variety t/ha @ harvest @ harvest
Pinnacle 10.7 72.1
Resolute 10.5 70.7
LG30179 9.8 74.9
Prospect 9.6 74.7
Crimped maize can increase feeding options

Faced with escalating fertiliser costs and the prospect of tight feed ingredient markets next winter, the importance of maximising feed output from your own resources will remain a priority for dairy farmers.

Richard Camplin, Technical Manager

According to Richard Camplin, LG Seeds Technical Manager, farmers who are able to grow maize, or who can work in partnership with an arable neighbour who is happy to grow the crop could benefit from increasing the acreage grown this year.

“There is still time to get maize in the ground and it could be used to increase forage output with reduced reliance on fertiliser. Maize requires less fertiliser per tonne of dry matter than grass and a large proportion on maize requirements can be met from slurry.

“Alternatively, it could be used to produce crimped maize to help trim the requirement for purchased starch sources. Careful variety selection can allow a degree of flexibility to be retained about how crops are utilised as the season unfolds.”

He says advances in plant breeding mean there have been massive improvements in the standing ability and disease resistance. New hybrids such as ProspectPinnacle and Resolute now have the combination of improved agronomy plus the advantages of superior digestibility and high starch yield, making them ideal for quality forage and also for crimping.”

If 2022 is a better than average grass growing season so grass silage yields are higher and if maize crops grow well, Mr Camplin the situation might develop where a proportion of the maize could be crimped to help reduce the requirement for purchased starch sources for the TMR.

Crimped maize is typically a 65-75% dry matter feed with 14.0-14.5MJME/kgDM and 60-70% starch making it a valuable ingredient in diets. Having been processed prior to clamping, it is a rumen-friendly feed with a higher proportion of bypass starch.  It can be clamped or stored in AgBags.

LG Grain Trial, Leicestershire

LG has been running UK trials looking at crimping potential and Mr Camplin advises that variety choice allows flexibility of use to be a real option.

“We ran trials on three locations with an average 27.5% moisture at harvest with the wettest crops being 33%. As the crops are harvested around six weeks after silage would have been taken, it is vital to be growing early maturing varieties and to allow the maximum growing season. So I would recommend not making crimp from later drilled crops.

“Early maturing varieties that performed best in the trials are LG30179ProspectResolute and Pinnacle, so growing these varieties would give the option for quality forage or a crimped crop (see table).”

He stresses the importance of selecting a variety suited to the farm and to look for varieties with low levels of disease and high standing ability and lodging resistance. As crops are harvested later it is essential they stand well.  Bad infections of fusarium, for example, can lead to fusarium stalk rot which can weaken the stem and increase the lodging risk.

If a crop is being planted specifically for crimped maize, he advises it is usual to reduce the seed rate to 85,000 seeds/ha. This is primarily to help bring maturity forward but this is less of a concern if an early variety has been chosen as they tend to have good cob maturity. However, having more space and light will help improve cob size and starch content.

“If a grower is interested in growing a crop guaranteed to produce high quality forage but which could be switched successfully into crimping to maximise the contribution from maize the key will be choosing an early maturing variety with good feed quality and the best agronomics.

“In this way, maize can provide a flexible way to meet the challenges of feeding cows this winter,” Mr Camplin concludes.

 

Crimp grain yields from early maturing varieties 2021

  Fresh Grain Yield Grain Dry Matter
Variety t/ha @ harvest @ harvest
Pinnacle 10.7 72.1
Resolute 10.5 70.7
LG30179 9.8 74.9
Prospect 9.6 74.7

 

Variety choice for maize break crops

Maize is increasingly seen as an alternative break crop on arable units, and by selecting the right variety you can ensure a good crop and the timely establishment of a successor crop.

Maize was often seen as a challenging crop to grow due to the late harvest. However, new earlier maturing varieties mean the crop can fit very well into rotations, allowing successor crops to be drilled in good

 conditions and in good time.

While not a full alternative to oilseed rape, which will usually provide a better return on investment in most years, maize can be incorporated into rotations as a way to increase the break crop area and leave a good margin.

Agronomically, maize can prove particularly effective on farms wanting to control problematic weeds like blackgrass. The crucial thing to look for is early maturing varieties that will suit your site’s conditions, as you need a variety which will mature at the right rate for your farm to ensure a timely harvest and successful establishment of a successor crop.

Try our OHU Calculator to find the right variety for your location

Maize maturity is all about heat, which is expressed as Ontario Heat Units (OHU). Maize needs to accumulate a minimum of 2500 OHU, before being fit to harvest. The fewer OHU required, the earlier a crop will be ready to harvest.

Earliness is defined by the FAO for the variety; earlier varieties have a lower FAO. They can be ready to harvest as much as two weeks earlier than later maturing ones, which can make a big difference to crop success. If you have a shorter growing season, selecting an earlier variety will reduce the risk of variable weather delaying harvest and will increase the chance of the successor crop being established.

Look for varieties with an FAO of 140-220, to ensure you get a variety that will mature in good time. Varieties like Resolute, Saxon and Mantilla, all combine early maturity with excellent yields, while Gema with an FAO of 150, is very early maturing. To simplify variety choice for your site, download our unique Maize Manager App, available free on the Apple or Google Play stores!

The Maturity Manager section was developed with data from the Met Office. It shows the average heat units for your postcode and then lists varieties which are suited to your farm, and will mature within the average accumulated OHU. The Maturity Manager will allow you to make an informed choice and select the optimum variety – reducing risk, ensuring an effective break crop and the establishment of the successor crop.

Update the Maize Manager App and unlock energy with LGAN!

Whether you’re growing maize for high milk yields from your dairy herd, or exceptional performance from an anaerobic digester, you need the same thing – a high yield of a high energy variety. Look no further than LGAN varieties.

Check out the new LGAN section in the app!

LGAN varieties are bred to unleash the 50% of energy which is stored in the vegetative parts of the maize plant. By being bred for higher cell wall digestibility (CWD), this energy is more readily accessible than in other varieties.

Combining higher CWD with high starch content is the recipe for better quality, more productive crops.

Independent trials show that LGAN varieties produce higher intakes of more digestible feeds leading to:

 Increased milk yields
• Higher liveweight gains
• Increased gas output

All this means more money from forage and lower purchased feed costs.

Watch our brand-new video below which explains how LGAN varieties can boost energy yield from your crop.

Then download the LG Maize Manager app to identify the LGAN variety that gives you the most profitable performance.

 

Switch to maize helps boost milk quality

The decision to grow maize has had significant benefits for a Welsh dairy business, improving performance and particularly milk quality.

Jonathan Evans is the third generation of the family to milk cows at Berry Hill Farm, near Newport in Pembrokeshire, where he farms with his grandparents Hayden and Dilys, his father Mark and Uncle, Colin. The farm is 154ha of owned and rented land, right on the coast.

They run a herd of 220 all year-round calving cows with typically 185 cows in milk. They are 85% pedigree Holsteins with 15% crossbreds.  They are currently averaging 8150 litres. It is a relatively young herd as a large number of cows were sold in 2019, and yields are increasing as the herd matures.

The farm is also carrying 250 youngstock as it is under TB restrictions. Heifers calve down at 21-25 months old.

The herd grazes for as long as conditions allow, usually from late April until mid-October. Being mainly sandy loams and so close to the sea, the farm is prone to drying out so summer grass growth can be an issue. In the winter, the cows are currently housed as a single milking group, but a new building is due to be available from February. This will allow cows to be housed in two groups of open, higher yielders and in calf, low yielders.

Winter feeding had been based on multicut grass silage and some wholecrop, but in 2021 they made the move back into maize.

“We had grown maize about eight years ago,” Jonathan comments. “We had grown some good crops but had problems with badger damage. However, we decided to give it another go, in particular as we wanted to try and improve milk quality which is important in our Glanbia contract.

“We decided to grow 32 hectares. We wanted early maturing varieties as we needed the crop available to feed as soon as possible, but also as this would allow us to follow up with either a grass ley or forage rye.”

They decided on two varieties, including LG’s Gema which was chosen in discussion with Wynnstay agronomist Lawrence Cozens, who explains that agronomically, Gema would fit the bill and he had grown it successfully previously in the area.

“Gema is an ultra-early maturing variety (FAO 150) with a shorter growing season and good early vigour, making it ideal for a short season rotation,” Mr Cozens explains. “It delivers high dry matter yields and is capable of producing a high starch forage, which is what Jonathan was looking for.

“It was particularly important to be able to drill successor crops and to avoid having bare soils which can lead to increased compaction, soil run-off and nutrient loss.”

The maize land received a significant amount of slurry and manure before ploughing. All the maize was drilled in late April after first cut grass and having waited for soils to reach the optimum 8°C at drilling depth. Fertiliser was applied to the seedbed and a pre-emergence herbicide was used with a follow-up spray based on specific problems.

Mr Cozens comments that the Gema got away particularly quickly as a result of delaying drilling and established strong plants quickly. He had planned to use a foliar fungicide, biostimulant and foliar plant nutrients at tussling, but the feeling was that the Gema had got too tall.

Throughout the growing season, Jonathan Evans commented that the Gema was ahead of the other variety and when ready to harvest, was standing 3 metres high and with large cobs.

“We harvested in late September as soon as the crop was ready because we had a good harvest window. We could possibly have left it a bit longer as the plant was still quite green, but this was not a problem. Harvesting early also meant we could sow 12ha of forage rye for dry cow feed.

“On average, we yielded at 42t/ha with the Gema yielding highest at 44t/ha. The analysis has been good at 33.2% dry matter, 32% starch, 83.7% starch degradability and 11.4MJ ME. We started feeding the day after harvest and began to see improvements immediately.”

Diets at the farm are developed by Wynnstay Head of Dairy Services David Howard who says adding maize silage has had significant benefits to performance. He comments that it has helped make better use of this winter’s grass silages which have generally been variable and below average quality.

“Feeding two forages can help increase total forage dry matter intakes and better balance the grass,” he comments. “But the biggest benefit has been in helping boost milk quality, particularly protein.

“The energy content and the bypass starch have helped drive rumen fermentation and we saw an increase in milk quality as soon as the maize was introduced.”

“The base ration comprises of 25kg first cut silage, 20kg maize silage, 1.0kg of a sugar-based molasses, 0.75kg chopped straw and 3kg of a balancer blend. The cows are then fed to yield in the parlour with an 18% high energy nut.

In September milk quality was running at 4.0% fat and 3.15% protein. In early October it has increased to 4.49% and 3.3% respectively and averaged 4.58% and 3.33% for the month. In November the averages were 4.55% fat and 3.42% protein.  In total the increased milk quality is worth around 1ppl extra milk price. Milk urea has fallen from 0.028% to 0.024% indicating better protein utilisation in the diet.

Milk yields have also risen. The herd is now averaging 29.8 litres compared to 26.0 litres in September, with cows less than 150 days in milk averaging 34 litres.

“Maize will also make an excellent buffer feed when cows are grazing, with the starch helping to complement the high protein in spring grass,” Mr Howard continues.

Based on the improved performance, Jonathan Evans is keen to grow more maize in 2022. He is planning to grow 49 hectares and at least 75% of the crop will be Gema.

He says maize is clearly an excellent feed and is definitely having an economic impact. In addition to the milk quality increases resulting in a better milk price, purchased feed costs per litre have come back from 9.3ppl to 6.3ppl.

He comments that maize is less weather dependent that grass, particularly on a coastal farm.There are fewer variables affecting how it performs, and he can be confident of at least 37t/ha of a high energy and consistent feed to use as the base for diets.

“With substantially higher fertiliser prices, maize has the added benefit of being a lower user of bagged fertiliser than grass and it is all applied early in the season when uptake is greater and not affected by fields drying out.

“I hope to grow enough to feed the cows through the winter and also for buffer feeding. If possible, I would like to feed some maize to youngstock,” he adds.

Could increased maize acreage help drive forage productivity?

Milk from forage continues to be a high priority on dairy farms, fuelled by increasing purchased feed prices and the impact of the reduction in Single Farm Payments. 

“We are seeing higher prices for all feed commodities,” comments Tim Richmond, Limagrain Field Seeds Maize Manager UK & Ireland. “This is putting pressure on margins, especially as the difficult silaging season in 2021 means many grass silages are lower than average quality and will require higher levels of supplementation.

“At the same time, dairy farmers are having to plan for life with reduced Single Farm Payments. The average dairy farm will see a reduction of 25-35% in 2022, rising to 40-50% in 2023, which will see farm income reduced by around 1ppl.

“So the challenge will be producing more, better quality forage to help reduce the impact of these economic factors. I would advise starting forage planning now, and in particular to consider opportunities for increasing maize acreage. As a starch-based forage it can complement high quality grass silages extremely well and this year is helping cows make the most of this year’s grass silage which is higher in fibre, and slightly less digestible than normal.”

He says even in a difficult maize season like 2021, crops generally performed well. The wet cold weather in April delayed harvest, but later sown crops did not suffer.

“Early sown crops drilled into cold soils struggled to get away, with the seed sitting and sulking. Where drilling was delayed until soil conditions were optimum, crops got away very quickly and were ready to harvest at the same time as earlier sown crops – provided care had been taken with variety choice.

“While most of our trial sites around the country were drilled in mid to late April and harvested in early October, the site at Bangor-on-Dee was not sown until late May.

However, the plots were all mature and ready to harvest in mid-October, making up over two weeks of the lost time. All yielded well and even the later maturing varieties came off at over 30% dry matter.

“New earlier-maturing varieties with strong early vigour mean you can manage by the conditions rather than the calendar and still get crops harvested in good time and in good conditions.”

Mr Richmond believes if dairy farmers want to increase forage productivity for next season, then maize is a serious contender and says it is worth asking the question about whether more maize could be grown (see flowchart).

“The first point to stress is that if your farm isn’t suitable for maize, then don’t try and grow it. Similarly, if some land is suitable but some is not, don’t try and push acreage. But if you have suitable fields, then it is certainly worth taking a close look at. By selecting an earlier variety it might be possible to grow a crop successfully on more marginal land.”

He says they are many varieties that are now available which will mature at least a week sooner than others, requiring fewer Ontario Heat Units to reach full maturity. Earliness is defined by the FAO for the variety; the earlier the variety the lower the FAO. If you have a shorter growing season or a marginal site, selecting an earlier variety will reduce the risk of variable weather delaying harvest and will increase the chance of the successor crop being established.

Use the Maturity Manager tool to see how many OHUs are available in your postcode

To simplify variety choice, the LG Maize Manager App which is available on the Apple or Google Play stores, or at www.maizemanager.com  Here, growers can find the Maturity Manager tool. Developed with the Met Office, it shows the average heat units for your post code and recommends suitable varieties.

“Having identified varieties suitable for your area, the Feed Manager tool allows you to compare varieties on their expected output and milk production potential.  Selecting a variety like Prospect or Resolute, for example, will ensure a higher quality feed and the potential to increase milk from forage significantly.

Mr Richmond comments that where maize is currently grown, it may be worth considering following it with a crop like Westerwolds/Italian Ryegrass, to ensure a successor crop is established and contribute additional forage for the spring. “Sowing Westerwolds, Italian Ryegrass or Humbolt forage rye will prevent soil run off and improve retention of nutrients in the soil while building soil organic matter.  Westerwolds and Italians are suitable for grazing or cutting while Humbolt forage rye can be grazed, zero-grazed or baled. All offer flexibility and will increase total forage output per hectare.”

If there is not scope to grow more maize on the existing acreage, Mr Richmond points out that having maize grown under contract could be a realistic option for dairy farmers in most parts of the country. He says there is increased interest among arable and dairy farmers alike, as it is an arrangement that can bring big benefits to both parties.

He emphasises that it is important to acknowledge that the objectives of the two parties will often be different. The livestock farmer will be interested in the yield of quality forage to maximise the benefit to his business and his return on investment when buying the crop, focussing on characteristics like dry matter yield, starch content and cell wall digestibility.

The grower will be more concerned with how the variety will suit the rotation that it will mature quickly enough and be harvested in time to allow the autumn sown successor crop to be established.

“But both parties can benefit. The dairy farmer can increase the proportion of maize available without compromising the system at the home farm.  They also have no responsibility for the growing of the crop and can benefit from the arable farmer’s expertise.  They can budget the tonnage they should receive and will be involved in key decision making such as harvesting date.

“The grower has an additional cash crop and can use maize to improve the overall rotation. Agronomically, maize can prove particularly effective on farms wanting to control problematic weeds like blackgrass.”

Mr Richmond explains that under a typical arrangement, a farmer contracts to grow a set acreage of maize. The grower covers the growing costs, while the buyer pays the costs of harvesting and pays a set price per tonne grown. The buyer will arrange the harvesting with the contractor in consultation with the grower. In some cases, the buyer may supply slurry to the grower and this will be reflected in the price.

“Structured in this way, both parties can benefit, but it is vital for each to understand each other’s objectives. The grower will want a crop that fits in with the system and this will usually mean an early maturing crop, allowing a successor crop to be established. As payment is often on a per tonne freshweight basis, physical yield will be important.

“For the purchasing dairy farmer on the other hand, the objective of ensuring sufficient yield will be a priority, but quality will be increasingly important.  Quality forage will be required to increase energy intakes, to boost overall dry matter intakes and maximise the return on investment.

“Variety choice is the basis of any agreement and ensuring the objectives of both parties are met.”

Mr Richmond says both parties should be involved in the discussion on variety choice.  He says that it is possible to select a variety with early maturity and good yields to meet the grower’s objectives, at the same time having exceptional feed value to deliver the quality the dairy farmer needs.

“For arrangements requiring a very early variety, then Gema and Dignity would be an excellent choice as they both produce high quality, energy-dense forage, but are suited to a short growing season, allowing a successor crop of winter wheat to be established.

“For farmers looking to optimise forage milk production potential without risking a delayed harvest, then Prospect, Saxon and Resolute are outstanding candidates.

“In parts of the country where more heat units are available and conditions and site class mean higher yielding and later FAO varieties are a practical option, then Mantilla and LG31.207 would be good choices, producing plentiful yields of high energy feed.”

“With the pressure on margins, increasing milk from forage remains a priority. In many parts of the country, maize can offer a flexible way to increase total forage production and take control of your feed costs.

“And with fertiliser prices rising quickly, it has the attraction of being a lesser user of nitrogen.  In addition as the biggest demand for nitrogen is at stem extension, one option would be to apply less in the seedbed and apply foliar nitrogen later – by which time we might see a weakening in fertiliser prices,” Mr Richmond concludes.  

Maize can help counter price pressures

Increasing the amount of maize grown could be one tactic to help mitigate some of the price pressures facing dairy farmers and get the best return from fertiliser on grass.


While there are some encouraging signs about positive movements in milk prices, global factors are continuing to put pressure on prices of some of the most important inputs on dairy farms, including purchased feed, fertiliser and diesel. The challenge for dairy farmers is to limit the impact of price increases where possible, to help maintain margins by capitalising on milk price improvements.

“One area needing early planning is forage production for 2022,” comments Tim Richmond, LG Maize Product Manager. “The objective has to be to improve production and utilisation of quality grazing to support summer margins, while ensuring clamps are full of high-quality winter feed.

“Forage maize could play a significant role. Growing more maize would mean the crop provides a bigger proportion of winter feed requirements, which in turn allows more flexibility of grass use. If less total conserved forage is required from grass, then it would be possible to keep more grass in the grazing block throughout the grazing season, if the requirements for second and subsequent cuts are reduced.

“It could allow a focus on early season grazing and first cut, when grass provides the best response to fertiliser inputs, ensuring good yields from spring grass and a high quality first cut. This would potentially enable reduced stocking densities and lower nitrogen applications later in the season when response to nitrogen is more variable.”

He says maize has a lower nitrogen requirement per hectare than traditional mixed grass grazing and silage system. According to the MGA, the fertiliser cost for a typical three cut grass silage system in 2021 was £395/ha, compared to £228/ha for maize and £223/ha for grazing. Costs for 2022 will clearly be higher, but the relative position will remain.

“Putting more grass into grazing and increasing the proportion of maize will be one way to economise on fertiliser, without compromising winter forage production.  Maize can also be a way to make excellent use of FYM and slurry.”

As there are fewer operations required to produce a hectare of maize, Mr Richmond suggests the crop can reduce the fuel costs per tonne of dry matter produced as well, helping mitigate rising diesel costs.

Finally, maize provides a consistent high-quality feed, and by selecting varieties combining high starch content and superior Cell Wall Digestibility, it will be possible to optimise rumen performance and hopefully reduce purchased feed use next winter.

Mr Richmond concedes there may be challenges in increasing maize hectarage but advises investigating the options. “Many farms are restricted as to how much maize they can grow due to factors like field suitability. One option this year to boost forage would be to take an early first cut before drilling maize. The experience of this year is that later drilled maize can perform very well and still be harvested in time to allow a successor crop to be established.

“Sowing Westerwolds, Italian Ryegrass or Humbolt forage rye will prevent soil run off and improve retention of nutrients in the soil, while building soil organic matter.  Westerwolds and Italians are suitable for grazing or cutting while Humbolt forage rye can be grazed, zero-grazed or baled. All offer flexibility and will increase total forage output per hectare.

“If this approach is workable, it will be important to select earlier maturing varieties with shorter growing seasons to ensure a quality forage is produced in time for the successor crop to be drilled. Varieties like Gema, Prospect and Saxon would fit the bill, combining excellent energy content with fewer days to harvest and good early vigour so they will get away quickly.”

Where options on the home farm mean growing more maize is not practical, Mr Richmond points out that there is renewed interest among arable farmers to grow maize on contract as a break crop, particularly on farms looking to control problem weeds like blackgrass.

He says any arrangement needs careful planning and clear understanding because the objectives of the two parties will often be different. The dairy partner will be interested in the yield of quality forage, focussing on characteristics including dry matter yield, starch content and cell wall digestibility.

The arable grower will be more concerned with how the variety will suit the rotation and that it will be harvested in time to allow the autumn sown successor crop to be established.

“But both parties can benefit. The dairy farmer can increase the proportion of maize available without compromising the system at the home farm. They also have no responsibility for the growing of the crop and can benefit from the arable farmer’s expertise. They can budget the tonnage they should receive and be involved in key decision making, such as harvesting date.

“The grower has an additional cash crop and can use maize to improve the overall rotation.”

Mr Richmond explains that under a typical arrangement, a farmer contracts to grow a set acreage of maize. The grower covers the growing costs, while the buyer pays the costs of harvesting. The buyer will arrange the harvesting with the contractor in consultation with the grower. In some cases, the buyer may supply slurry to the grower, and this will be reflected in the price.

He says there are various models for paying for the crop with paying a price per hectare based on an assessment of yield a common approach. However, increasingly contracts are based on a set price per tonne at an agreed dry matter content. Whatever approach is adopted, he stresses it needs to be agreed at the onset.

“Clearly variety choice is crucial if all objectives are to be met. Both parties must be involved in the discussion on variety choice. It is perfectly possible to select a variety with early maturity and good yields to meet the grower’s objectives, at the same time having exceptional feed value to deliver the quality the dairy farmer needs.

“For arrangements requiring a very early variety, then Gema and Trooper would be an excellent choice as they both produce high quality, energy-dense forage, but are suited to a short growing season, allowing a successor crop of winter wheat to be established.

“For farmers looking to optimise milk production potential without risking a delayed harvest, then Prospect, Dignity, Saxon and Resolute are outstanding candidates.”

Mr Richmond believes that as a result of the current extreme economic pressures, it will pay to look at different ways to optimise forage productivity to exploit any positive movement in milk prices.

  Watch  our brand new video and see how choosing an LGAN accredited variety can help reduce your costs!

Time to consider growing maize?

In recent years, interest in using maize as an alternative break crop has grown on arable units, commonly as feedstock for anaerobic digestion but increasingly working with local dairy farmers to increase forage availability.  Brian Copestake, LG UK Sales Manager believes it can bring some significant benefits, but advises planning carefully.

Brian Copestake

Maize was often seen as a challenging crop to grow due to the late harvest. However, with new earlier maturing varieties, the crop can fit well into arable rotations, allowing successor crops to be drilled in good conditions and in good time.

While not a full alternative to oilseed rape, which will usually provide a better return on investment in most years, maize can be incorporated into rotations as a way to increase the break crop area and leave a good margin. Maize grown for forage will leave a margin of around £810/ha after harvesting costs.

Agronomically, maize can prove particularly effective on farms wanting to control problematic weeds like black grass.

Wheat crops established after maize typically get away quickly, making use of residual nutrients. Working with a local dairy farmer, growing maize under contract could open up the opportunity to buy in slurry or farmyard manures to improve soils. And with nitrogen prices likely to be over £600/t, it is worth remembering that maize uses around half the nitrogen of a crop of winter wheat.

As with any new crop, the success has its roots in initial planning. Despite crops likely to be drilled in April or early May, now is the time to plan your approach. Before embarking on a new crop, it is important you have a market outlet, as this will have an effect on the variety grown.

Variety choice is vital

The first thing to look for is early maturing varieties that will suit your site class, as you need one which will mature at the right rate for your farm. If you cannot find a suitable variety, then maize may not be for you. While growing maize under plastic used to be popular, the extra cost can now be negated by selecting an earlier variety.

The key to maturity is Ontario Heat Units (OHUs). Plants need to accumulate a number of OHUs before being fit to harvest. The fewer OHUs required, the earlier a crop will be ready to harvest.

Earliness is defined by the FAO for the variety, earlier varieties have a lower FAO. They can be ready to harvest as much as two weeks earlier than later maturing ones. If you have a shorter growing season, selecting an earlier variety will reduce the risk of variable weather delaying harvest and will increase the chance of the successor crop being established.

Try the heat map, find it in the Maize Manager App!

To simplify variety choice, our unique Maize Manager App includes the Maturity Manager tool.  Developed with the Met Office, it shows the average heat units for your postcode and will help ensure you make an informed choice.

Having developed a shortlist of varieties, look for high early vigour to make sure the variety will get away quickly, something that is particularly important on heavier soils and in late seasons. Having selected a variety to suit the farm, look at yield and quality parameters. Many early varieties combine high yields with excellent quality, which will make the crop a higher quality feedstock or forage.

Look for varieties with an FAO of 140-240 to ensure you get a variety that will mature in good time. Limagrain varieties like ResoluteProspect and Conclusion have a FAO below 190, combining early maturity with excellent yields while Gema with a FAO of 150, is very early maturing.

Having chosen your variety, plan fields carefully and soil test before developing your nutrient plan. Good seedbed preparation will be key as maize is a deep rooting plant and requires a fine tilth. It is also sensitive to soil compaction which can lead to stunted growth and reduced cob size.

The seed bed can be prepared immediately prior to drilling and typically the top layer of fine soil needs to be about 5cm deep. Drilling should only happen once soil temperatures have reached 8°C. Drilling sooner will just result in the seed sitting in the soil. This is something we saw this year when farmers who delayed drilling saw crops establish more quickly.

As most nutrients will be applied down the spout at sowing, with the rest applied in the seed bed or early post-emergence when weed control is also completed, maize is a crop which largely looks after itself, releasing time for other tasks.

Maize is a surprisingly versatile crop being suitable for ensiling, crimping or being harvested for grain, meaning it can fit a wide range of situations. Crop success will depend on early planning and careful variety selection.

Watch and see how the Maize Manager App can help you select the right variety…

Don’t be seduced by the looks

Making a proper assessment of maize crop maturity, rather than just going by date or the look of the crop, will be essential if the best forage is to be produced this autumn – according to Tim Richmond from LG Seeds.

The combination of a disrupted drilling season, resulting in many later established crops and a cool month for much of August, means maize crops are maturing at different rates and Mr Richmond stresses the need to assess crops closely.

“Just because crops look good in the field does not mean they are ready to harvest,” he comments. “Walking crops in the last few weeks we have seen delayed cob development and also crops with a very high proportion of vegetative material. The only way to reliably assess fitness for harvest is to walk crops and assess both dry matter and cob development.”

He says maize should be harvested when the crop combines optimal starch content of 30-35% with only limited leaf die back, so maintaining high digestibility in the vegetative part of the plant. At the same time, the crop must have sufficient moisture to allow effective compaction in the clamp. Harvesting a crop too soon will result in sub-optimal starch content, as sugars will not have been converted into starch.

Mr Richmond advises walking well into the crop and looking at plants in several locations. To assess the maturity of the vegetative material he advises looking at the flow of juice from the stem, targeting to harvest when very little or no juice emerges as the stem is twisted, and when the leaves level with the cob are just beginning to turn brown. To assess the grains for harvest readiness, cobs should be broken in half and the position of the milk line assessed.

“To help farmers accurately determine if the crop if ready to harvest, the LG Maize Manager App, which is free to download, includes a Harvest Manager section. This provides an easy to use, step-by-step guide to crop assessment and predicts how far the crop is off harvest.

“Relying on careful assessment will ensure farmers enter the winter with the best quality maize silage to act as the foundation for winter rations,” Mr Richmond comments.

The Maize Manager App is available on the Apple or Google Play stores, or at www.maizemanager.com

Watch below to see how the app can help you!

Monitoring maize crops key to a successful harvest

Following the prolonged and varied maize drilling season crops will need careful management to ensure an optimum harvest

Across the country, farmers faced challenging conditions to get maize established but the focus now has to turn quickly to ensuring a successful harvest to ensure a quality feed to compliment variable grass silage.

 

Simon Pope from Wynnstay comments that he can not remember a season in recent years where the average drilling date was so late.  “We saw very little maize drilled in late April as it was cold and dry while most of May was cold and wet.  The main drilling window became late May and early June.

“Across Wales and the West Midlands crops are beginning to catch up but a lot will depend on the weather from now on and how rapidly the Ontario Heat Units that drive maturity accumulate.

“One of the stand-out varieties for early vigour and rapid establishment under difficult conditions has been LG Gema. In a shortened growing season high-performing, very early varieties such as Gema really come into their own.”

Agrii National Forage Product Manager Ben Lowe says late sown maize has got going very well and in many cases is further advanced than earlier drilled crops where the seed took a while to get going.  Many crops are looking better than crops sown in late April in a typical year.

“This is largely because later drilled crops were actually sown in optimum conditions with warm soils and adequate moisture and I hope growers remember this in future seasons and throw away the calendar and instead take decisions based on the conditions.”

He suggests there is little if any point establishing crops in poor conditions, and it is always better to wait.  That said you need to choose the appropriate variety.  Drilling late and still harvesting at the normal time truncates the growing season and makes the choice of early maturing varieties essential.

A late drilled late maturing variety may struggle to mature with the consequence of harvesting too soon or having to delay harvest and risk poor conditions

Resolute Maize

LG Resolute for example is an excellent early maturing variety which has outstanding early vigour to get away quickly.  But it is also the highest on the NIAB/BSPB list for dry matter and ME yield making it an excellent candidate for delaying drilling to ensure optimum conditions.”

Richard Camplin, LG Technical Manager is responsible for the company’s network of trial plots and agrees it might be time to rethink maize planning.  He says the trial plots had to be drilled later this year with the latest plots at the Bangor site in North Wales only drilled at the end of May.

“Going in late, the tilth was good, and soil was warm.  We drilled the seed shallower, and we saw emergence after just six days, and these are now probably the strongest plots we have.  It is about planning for the conditions.

“Later drilled crops has caught up quickly and also have higher plant populations.  We have not lost out and earlier varieties lime Saxon, Dignity and Prospect are looking good with the ability to allow an early harvest,”

He comments earlier drilled crops had higher field losses and poorer plant populations and we have had reports of this from across the country.  Seed was drilled deeper in cold soils and struggled to get away.  This is not to say these crops will not yield well as with fewer plants there will be less competition.

“The challenge now will be to gets crops harvested at the optimum time.  With variable grass silage reported across the country, dairy producers will be looking for a high-quality maize forage but also a feed that can be incorporated in diets quickly to complement the other forages.

“To achieve this will require a commitment to monitoring the crop and being flexible about harvest date rather than harvesting on a set date

He says maize should be harvested when the crop combines maximum starch content with only limited leaf die back so maintaining high digestibility in the vegetative part of the plant.  At the same time, the crop must have sufficient moisture to allow effective compaction in the clamp.  Harvesting a crop too soon will result in sub-optimal starch content, as sugars will not have been converted into starch.

Equally, delaying harvest will result in poorer digestibility of the vegetative part of the plant and reduce digestible fibre which is essential for rumen health.  He advises modern varieties stay green for longer and do not to go brown before being harvested.

“Harvesting date is not a direct function of drilling date but is influenced by OHU accumulation in the growing season with early maturing varieties requiring fewer units.  It is entirely likely that an early maturing variety drilled late could be ready for harvest sooner than expected.

“We regularly run NIRS clinics at markets, allowing farmers to bring plants to assess maturity and fitness for harvest.  Whilst in most years a significant proportion of plants are more mature than the grower expected, this may not be the case this year.  However, to avoid issues from harvesting at the wrong stage we would still urge farmers to start monitoring crop sooner than later.”

Mr Camplin recommends starting to walk the crop from mid to late August to assess maturity and fitness to harvest, to prevent crops going over.  He advises walking well into the crop and looking at plants in several locations.  Never evaluate plants on the field margins.

He says that modern varieties often remain green to maturity, and it is a misunderstanding that maize needs to be dead before harvesting.  The target range for an optimum crop is 32-35% dry matter.  At dry matter levels higher than this, palatability and intakes can be reduced, digestibility will be compromised, and the crop may prove difficult to consolidate, increasing the risk of aerobic spoilage.

“Crops typically dry down at 2% per week so, it is important to start measuring dry matter and assessing maturity, so you aren’t caught out.”

To assess the maturity of the vegetative material he advises looking at the flow of juice from the stem.  “Look to harvest when no juice emerges as the stem is twisted, and when the leaves level with the cob are just beginning to turn brown.

Then assess the grains using the thumb nail test.  The grains at the top of the cob should be like soft cheese, the ones at the bottom should be like hard cheese and the ones in the middle should be soft enough to leave the imprint of a thumbnail on.

He suggests farmers download the LG Maize Manager App onto their phones.  The Harvest Manager module assesses the condition of the crop and advises on target harvest date to ensure the crop is cut at the optimum dry matter to maximise feed values and fermentation quality.

Based on the dry matter of the cob and of the stem, the app will determine if the crop is ready for harvest and recommend a cutting date.  If harvest is not imminent the app uses postcode related weather data to predict when the crop will be suitable for harvest.

“By walking the crop and assessing the state of maturity and the rate at which dry matter is increasing, you increase the prospects of harvesting the crop at the optimum stage to maximise the production of high-quality forage,” Mr Camplin points out.  “The app will then improve the precision of harvest timing, helping maximise the value of the crop they have grown and reduce the risk of incorrect harvest date on silage quality.”

Download the FREE Maize Manager App and see how it can help you!

 
Strategies to make the most of late sown maize

There is still time to sow maize, despite the late cold spring and the wettest May for many years, but growers need to review their approach to minimise any potential yield reduction or decline in feed quality. 

A few changes to establishment could help ensure a more successful late sown crop.

Modern varieties typically require 150 growing days, and are normally sown on 1st May, giving a harvest on 1st October.

Trials conducted by LG examined the effect of sowing maize at weekly intervals throughout May and then harvesting at weekly intervals from end of September until the end of October.

On average, there was a dry matter loss of 5% per week as a consequence of late drilling and a 1.8% per week decline in dry matter content.  So it will be important to take steps to reduce any potential impact.

Step 1                 

If possible, swap to an earlier maturing variety, (maturity class 8 -10) preferably around 40 FAO points lower than a usual variety for the farm

Step 2                 

If not possible to change to an earlier variety, then reduce seed rate by at least 5% to give each plant more space and access to more resources to mature

Step 3                 

Sow shallower (2-3cm depending on soil type) as soils will be warm enough with adequate moisture to allow plants to get away strongly

Step 4                

Consider nitrogen applications – too much nitrogen will delay maturity

Fine tuning maize establishment will still allow late sown crops to deliver good yields of a high quality feed to help offset any shortfall in winter feed stocks. Make sure all the bases are covered, act on soil sample results, watch for trace element deficiency etc.

Remember, your late sown crop may not be far behind early sown crops into cold wet seed beds.

For more information on any LG maize variety, or to check the FAO rating, click here to go to our maize product page.