Highest yielding Recommended varieties on show at Cereals
Plant breeders Limagrain UK will showcase their impressive portfolio of varieties across crop sectors at Cereals 2024. 

 

After several years absence from Cereals, the breeders have returned to the Event on the back of their resounding success on the 2024/2025 AHDB Recommended List.

“Producing the highest yielding varieties, backed up with desirable agronomic characteristics is an exceptional achievement for any breeder. What’s more, these varieties have proven to be robust and consistent performers across seasons and regions,” explains Ron Granger, Limagrain’s arable technical manager.

Ron Granger portraitVisit stand 606 to find out more about the highest yielding winter wheat LG Beowulf, LG Caravelle the highest yielding 2-row winter barley and the highest gross output oilseed rape varieties LG Armada, LG Adeline and LG Academic.

There will also be experts on hand to discuss Limagrain’s very diverse portfolio, including maize, forage crops and SFI options as well as an opportunity to enter a prize draw to win free seed.

“We are here to listen and share our expertise on how to get the very best out of Limagrain genetics, and the Cereals Event gives us the opportunity to do this directly with the farming community we serve,” he says.

Visit LG on stand 606, buy tickets here

Don’t forget about Fodder Beet!

With feed costs continuing to rise, why not consider growing a crop of Fodder beet?

Yielding between 80-100 tonnes of fresh feed per hectare, growing a crop can help reduce your winter feed purchases. It’s not too late to drill, early crops are usually drilled early April but this year’s weather means many crops won’t be drilled until end of the month or even into the first week of May.

Later drilling may also help reduce bolter numbers. You should try to drill 100 – 110,000 seeds per hectare, with a view to establish 80 – 100,000 plants per hectare at harvest. Drill widths range from 45-50 cm with seed spacings of 15-20cm. Seedbed conditions are vitally important, with a requirement for a fine, firm seedbed with a soil temperature above 5˚ C.

With rotational options limited in some regions, Fodder beet will allow you to drill barley, or a grass reseed in the spring and also help fill any feed gaps that may have appeared this spring.

CHECK OUT OUR BRAND NEW FODDER BEET VIDEOS OVER ON OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL

 

Under-sowing Maize Pays Dividends

Under-sowing maize with a hybrid ryegrass and red clover ley has delivered multiple benefits for Cornish dairy farmer Chris Sampson.

With five years of the practice under his belt, and now owning his own inter-row drill, Chris is seeing consistent results, and can list extra forage, increased soil carbon and reduced cultivations amongst the key advantages.

Chris is also eligible for a countryside stewardship payment of £172/ha for what is effectively a cover crop, and all of this is achieved with no detriment to his primary goal of growing a high energy maize crop.

“We grow around 40 acres of maize each year, which makes up about half of the winter forage ration for the milking herd,” Chris explains. “We now routinely under-sow it with a grass and clover mix, with the additional stewardship payment more or less paying for the seed. And, with the extra first cut of grass and clover silage we take the following spring, I’d say the whole exercise pays for itself in the first year.”

Maize was first grown at Metha Farm, near Newquay, around 25 years ago, and is now a mainstay of the milking ration for the 112-cow herd of Holstein Friesians. It is grown in rotation with grass and clover leys, with Chris favouring very early varieties that will produce a mature, high-energy crop in a relatively short growing season.

“We’ve tried growing wholecrop cereals as an alternative to maize, but could never achieve the same level of yield,” he adds. “It’s about maximising the energy production and the best measure of that is megajoules per hectare. With the system we now have, we’re able to exploit the full benefits of high energy maize whilst overcoming any environmental concerns with the crop.”

Grass and clover leys at Metha Farm are typically down for three or four years before that land is used for maize. The policy is usually to take a first cut from the old ley in early May before applying farmyard manure and then preparing the ground to drill maize.

“Our oldest leys are often still quite productive, and we’ll top-dress with nitrogen before taking a first cut,” explains Chris. “Once that crop is off, we have a fairly tight turn around to spray off the aftermath and apply muck before ploughing and preparing a seedbed.

“We find the right time to drill maize is at the end of May, or even the first week of June. We’ve tried drilling earlier but it’s usually better to wait until soil temperatures are higher. Even with the relatively late drilling we usually have a crop that hits the target of ‘knee high by the fourth of July’.”

Chris routinely soil samples all of the land going into maize, with the results determining his fertiliser policy for the crop. He may use up to 50kg/acre of DAP in the seedbed, and low level applications of nitrogen and/or MAP, or may decide there’s no requirement at all, adhering strictly to a principle of only applying what is necessary.

Once weeds have been sprayed off, and with the maize crop up to 12 inches high, Chris goes in with his Weaving inter-row drill, sowing a hybrid ryegrass and red clover mix at a regular seed rate of 14kg/acre.

“It’s a disc drill system and the coulters can be set to drill between the rows of maize,” says Chris. “The mix of hybrid ryegrass and red clover works best for our situation. The establishment is effective, so when the maize comes off in the autumn there’s a wispy crop growing underneath that kicks on very quickly.”

The priority for Chris is a mature crop of maize, so he resists the pressures to cut earlier and waits until the cobs are fit. In 2023 the maize came off on 8th October, with an overall fresh weight yield of around 17.5 tonnes/acre at 35.8% dry matter. With winter feeding well underway, the maize was feeding well, contributing a significant proportion to the total mixed ration for cows averaging 7,500 litres per lactation.

 

THE BENEFITS OF UNDERSOWING MAIZE

With undersowing becoming increasingly popular, Limagrain Maize Sales Manager, Tim Richmond, explains some of the wide-ranging benefits the practice has to offer.

The principal benefit of undersowing maize with a secondary crop such as ryegrass, clover, or vetch, or a combination of all three, is that it prevents maize stubbles from sitting bare over the winter. This not only reduces nutrient losses and soil erosion caused by run-off, but also makes travelling at harvest and in the subsequent spring easier, with the secondary crop helping to improve and bind soil structure.

The undersown crop also provides a valuable winter or spring crop for livestock to graze as well as providing a home for slurry to be spread in the early spring.

Undersowing also helps to improve soil biology, with worm counts typically 6-7 times higher compared to bare maize stubbles.

The secondary crop will also provide competition against spring germinating weeds, and, if conditions turn too wet to drill the next year’s crop, the land will still have a useful grass crop instead of sitting bare for a second winter.

Maize varieties such as Gema, Dignity, Saxon and Skipper are ideally suited for undersowing as they are early maturing which allows the cover crop to become further established after an early maize harvest, yet still go on to deliver a yield on par with the top performing varieties.

To achieve the best levels of cover crop establishment, the secondary crop should be drilled at a rate of around 15kg/ha (depending on the species and mixture) when the maize is at the 4-5 leaf stage. Avoid drilling the cover crop too late as an overly developed maize canopy will prevent the secondary crop from establishing properly, and ensure a gap of 15cm is left between the cover crop and maize drill rows to prevent any detrimental competition effect on maize yields.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
The launch of the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) in 2022 and the subsequent options added in 2023, allows farmers to adopt and maintain sustainable farming practices that will help improve our environment.

 

You can apply for a 3-year SFI agreement to undertake environmental land management actions that will help you to manage your land in a sustainable way. There are 6 SFI actions to choose from, and some work in conjunction with existing Countryside Stewardship.

As SFI is so comprehensive and detailed, in this edition, we will focus on ‘Integrated Pest Management’.

 

IPM is focused on:

Actions & payments for IPM

IPM1

Assess integrated pest management and produce a plan

£989 per year

IPM2

Sow flower-rich grass margins, blocks, or in-field strips

£673 per hectare

IPM3

Use a companion crop on arable land

£55 per hectare

IPM4

No use of insecticide on arable crops and permanent crops

       

 

If you decide to apply for one of these actions, it should help you with managing crop pests, diseases and weed control, and minimise the use of pesticides – leading to increased biodiversity and improvements to water quality, soil and air quality.

To maximise your sustainable farming options, we have designed seed mixtures that are eligible for IPM actions:

IPM2 – Flower-rich margin seed mixture, containing 80% grasses and 20% native UK wildflowers. Ideal for blocks or in-field strips; the mixture, once established will provide habitat and food for predators and pollinators.

IPM3 – Our Grass and clover mixture can be under sown with cereals and our Maize grass mixture can be used to under sow a maize crop, providing an understory habitat.

We suggest, before you decide which SFI action suits your business, that you check out the application process, rules, and payments at:

Sustainable Farming Incentive guidance – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Delivering success for growers

The Limagrain UK portfolio of Betaseed varieties, continues to offer a diverse range of varieties for consideration, on the new 2024 Recommended List.

The portfolio offers a range of varieties suitable for the key demands of specific requirements or situations – yield/ sugar %/ disease resistance/ bolting tolerance, and now ALS herbicide resistance.

Betaseed varieties are proven both in trials and more importantly through consistent performance over very erratic and challenging seasons of drought and virus.

Based on this success, the varieties are now a well-recognised brand in the UK sugar beet sector, delivering growers security of performance through excellent genetics.

UltiPro Seed Treatment

Betaseed’s unique seed treatment, UltiPro, is designed to help sugar beet growers maximise their yields and profitability, by improving the health and performance of their crops.

By protecting the seed and promoting early plant development, UltiPro can help growers establish a strong, healthy stand of sugar beets, that can withstand environmental stresses and produce a high-quality crop.

UltiPro has been independently tested for 3 years in comparison to the UK market standard.

Expanding the yellow pea market
Yellow peas have historically been only a small proportion of the UK pulses market but are grown much more widely in Canada and France. Originally, only grown as a niche product for animal feed, they now command a premium for bird food and human consumption markets.

The area of yellow peas has been increasing steadily in the UK over the past decade. Justin Barrett, from Askew and Barrett (Pulses) Ltd, explains “we are finding that yellow peas have a higher yield than large blue and marrowfat types. They are also flexible, as they are used in a number of processes including for fractionation, pea flour and split peas used for soups, stews and casseroles”.

Limagrain’s first yellow pea in the UK, LG Ajax, was first listed in 2022 and was followed by LG Corvet. Both of these varieties have a step up in disease resistance over other types, especially against powdery and downy mildew.

“One of the major benefits of yellow peas for growers, is there is no risk of bleaching during growing and harvesting and they are usually the first of the dry peas to be combined. I expect the market to continue to increase for yellow peas” says Justin.

The benefits of oilseeds in your rotation
With the most recent AHDB early bird survey estimating that the UK winter oilseed rape area has declined by 16% for harvest 2024, partially due to the challenges around establishment, it is easy to overlook the benefits that OSR can bring into an arable rotation.

 

Whilst of course it is important that crops are economically viable, the bigger picture in terms of what added value OSR has to growers, should not be taken for granted. So, whilst growers may begin to question the place of OSR in the rotation, it is worth considering the following benefits below:

For more information on utilising nitrogen in OSR, please follow: Oilseeds Canopy Management – LG Seeds

Forage outlook and options for 2024
The climate is keeping us on our toes and this year (2023) has been no exception. It calls for flexibility and agility when it comes to growing forage crops. Limagrain’s forage crop manager John Spence sows some seeds of ideas on future proofing home grown feed supplies going forward.

 

“We’re ending the year with decent stores of grass and maize silage, but this doesn’t tell the full story,” says John Spence. “A cold late spring delayed grass growth, then for most grass silage making started well, until heavy rain arrived.

John Spence_Forage Manager_Oct21 (1)Hot and dry conditions weren’t as extreme as 2022, but some were affected with poor grass growth, then some respite and good grass growth through a mild autumn until heavy rain put some areas under water at worst and at best caused the late sowing of forage catch crops which will certainly hamper their yield and quality.

So farmers are faced with balancing more extreme weather conditions and the drive to improve sustainability and economic viability by producing more feed value from home grown forages.

“Marrying the two is quite a challenge,” adds Mr Spence.

“Agility and flexibility are key when it comes to planning. Avoid planning everything in stone and being too rigid with the cropping.”

 

Forage choices

The dairy system will determine forage options, with more alternatives typically possible in grazing herd situations. “A herd housed full time will usually rely on conserved high quality silages. “This has to remain the priority,” says Mr Spence. “But introducing forages like fodder beet and forage rye can really boost output from homegrown forages, as well as opting for higher production grass seed mixtures and clovers.

“Grazed herds can consider kale too, and some brassicas like Skyfall that ‘bounces back’, in effect giving two grazing crops, through summer which can take the pressure off the grass.”

Fodder beet, though, has been used in dairy cow diets for many years in areas where it can be grown on farm or locally on contract.

“This is a high energy crop, highly digestible and ‘enjoyed’ by dairy cows. We’ve tested a range of varieties in our own UK farm trials for more than 10 years and yields are consistently reliable, even in dry hot summers,” he adds.

“And new modern varieties are out-performing some of the older fodder beets. Limagrain trials consistently show the variety Fosyma to have the best dry matter yield at 14% above the control variety Magnum, and 5% above its closest rival Brick.”

Fodder beet’s feed value at 78% digestibility and 13MJ/kg of dry matter is a valuable addition to any dairy ration.

Kale might have been out of fashion. “But not anymore,” adds Mr Spence. “Here again, new varieties with improved feed value have brought the crop back into the spotlight.”

He highlights Bombardier – a relatively new kale variety with a nutritious stem and leaf with 72% digestibility in UK trials and 17% crude protein It’s sown between April and June so it can follow first cut silage and provide a valuable break crop in the grass rotation.

“A kale crop can slot into the plan for many grazing herds. It’s fast-growing so cattle can strip graze it as a buffer feed in mid-summer to take the pressure off the grass.

But it has a long shelf-life too, so it’s a useful crop for youngstock and dry cows in autumn and winter. In either situation it can be used as a break crop and followed with a grass reseed. Break crops between grass crops are increasingly important in breaking the pest cycle and improving productivity of grass leys.”

Forage rye has been particularly popular this autumn – 2023, with crops following harvest or early maturing maize varieties. It can be sown until late October and is ready for cutting or grazing in early spring, even before Italian ryegrass.

A crude protein content of 12% and an ME of 10MJ/kg DM makes it an ideal forage for late lactation or dry cows, or youngstock. And once finished, the field can go back into maize or a spring reseed.

 “A crop of rye will provide a valuable feed to eke out silages and it’s also a great crop to mop up residual nutrients and maintain soil health. The only caveat maybe sowing in a very wet autumn, but most farmers were in time this year, as the first half of autumn was warm and dry. So again, a flexible approach is needed and the will to act if conditions are right.”

 

Grass is king

Grass is the most important forage for most dairy farmers, and increasing its productivity and feed value should be on-going. This includes regular reseeding and taking advantage of improved grass seed mixtures and always selecting a grass seed mixture to suit the system and purpose of the crop, as well as the growing conditions and soil type.

“There are new varieties, improved grass seed mixtures and enhancements to match changing conditions. So farmers should seek advice and look for mixtures with proven trial results and good performance on UK farms and be discerning in their choices,” adds Mr Spence.

Limagrain trials in 2020 highlight the benefit of reseeding and of selecting proven mixtures. Table 1 highlights the productivity of a one year old ley and a four year old ley. The additional 45% of energy produced by the new sward was equivalent to more than 6,000 litres of milk (assuming 5.3MJ/litre).

 

Table 1

 

Age of Sward (Years)

 

 

4

1

Benefit of New Ley

1st Cut DM yield (t/ha)

3.57

6.06

+2.49

ME (MJ/kg DM)

10.8

11.9

+1.1

ME yield (MJ/ha)

38,669

72,072

33,403

Source: Limagrain UK Trials, May 2020

 

“The additional energy yield value from younger leys will increase the proportion of milk yield from home-grown forage, reduce bought-in feed costs and this will justify the cost of the reseed. Depending on the age and quality of the ley, estimates suggest the additional yield in year one of a reseed will cover its cost.”

Limagrain UK Grass Trials (1)Trials have also demonstrated the benefits of improved mixtures with proven feed values. LGAN is the accreditation given to LG mixtures that meet the company’s combined yield and feed value criteria, and table 2 shows the performance range at first cut of the one-year-old mixtures on trial.

“The best performing mixture at first cut was LGAN Quality Silage, which produced more than 7t/DM of 12.5ME silage. The trial year, 2020, was particualrly dry, so these results demonstrate the big gains that can be made by using high-feed-value mixtures.”

Table 2

 

Max

Min

Range

DM yield (t/ha)

7.81

4.78

3.03

ME (MJ/kg)

12.5

11.6

0.9

ME yield (MJ/ha)

93,703

55,384

38,319

 

Stock up on clover

A forage outlook for 2024 wouldn’t be complete without highlighting the benefits of clover in grass leys.

“Any new reseed with clover in the mix or overseeding a ley with clover is eligible for an annual payment of £102 a hectare under the new SFI action NUM2 (Legumes on improved grassland),” says Mr Spence.

“This more than pays for the seed, and it brings all the benefits in soil health, nitrogen fixing and feed value. And in mid-summer, the clover provides good feed value when perennial ryegrass growth slows down.”

A lot of focus is also being placed on multispecies leys, with sustainability schemes encouraging dairy farmers to integrate them into their systems. “There are payments available under the new SFI scheme for sowing multispecies leys which will be worth investigating in the forage planning for 2024.

“There is a lot of considerations and it’s worth having an open mind to new ideas and options.”

 

FORAGE PLANNING POINTERS

 

For more info on forage options to suit your farm business, click here or download the LG Essential Guide to Forage Crops

Limagrain varieties top the 2024/25 AHDB Recommended List
Plant breeder Limagrain’s winter wheat LG Beowulf and 2-row winter barley LG Caravelle, are the highest yielding varieties to join the 2024/25 AHDB Recommended List.

LG Armada also takes lead position as the highest yielding oilseed rape variety on the Recommended List for the UK, whilst LG Adeline takes pole position for oilseed rape in the North.

In addition, high yielding maize variety Saxon tops the 2024 BSPB Forage Maize Descriptive List for ME yield (‘000s MJ/ha).

This means that LG now offer the highest yielding varieties in; winter wheat, 2 row winter barley, OSR and maize*.

Ron Granger

“This is an exceptional achievement for any breeder,” explains Ron Granger, Limagrain’s arable technical manager.

“Last year saw our winter wheat and winter barley varieties take pole positions across the RL. We have built on this success for a second year running, producing higher yielding varieties, backed up with desirable agronomic characteristics, securing high yield performance on farm. What’s more, these varieties have proven to be robust and consistent performers across seasons and regions.”

 
Highest yielding winter wheat

Group 4 hard wheat LG Beowulf yields 106% across the UK and shows the same consistency of performance across all regions: east (106%), west (106%) and the north (107%) – an outstanding achievement for any variety.

LG Beowulf has produced these exceptionally high yields consistently in National List and RL trials over regions and seasons, in both the unusually dry summer of 2022 as well as the exceptionally wet summer of 2023. Alongside these yields, it offers a good grain quality, with a spec weight of 78.3 kg/hl.

LG Beowulf is much like LG Skyscraper; it performs wherever you grow it,” he says. “It can be drilled early or late – providing growers with a wide drilling window, as a first or second wheat, on light or heavy land, and there are very few varieties that meet this criterion,” he says.

LG Beowulf yields are backed up by a set of strong agronomic characteristics, offering an excellent disease resistance profile with ratings of 9 for yellow rust, 6.7 for septoria, as well as orange wheat blossom midge (OWBM) resistance.

It has very stiff straw and is rated 8 for standing in untreated and PGR treated trials, which strongly contributes to its reliability on farm.

“In summary, LG Beowulf is a very high yielding, robust and versatile variety that comes at a time when growers are looking more than ever to maximise output, in order to maintain profit in times of increasing costs,” says Mr Granger.

 
Highest yielding winter barley

LG Caravelle is the highest yielding two-row winter barley for the second year running, since joining the Recommended List in 2023.

“Offering UK yields of 105.6%, LG Caravelle continues to dispel any misconception that two row barleys are lower yielding than hybrids. The variety certainly competes with the best yielding hybrid barleys, especially in the east,” says Mr Granger. “LG Caravelle is competitive in a black-grass situation, another characteristic that is normally associated with hybrids.”

LG Caravelle’s high yields are backed up by an excellent disease profile, reflected in its superb untreated performance, it is early maturing with stiff straw and good brackling resistance.”

LG Caravelle also offers an exceptionally high specific weight for a winter barley, of 71.4 kg/hl combined with low screenings %,” he adds.

“Indeed, LG Caravelle possesses all of the key characteristics for a winter barley.”

LG Capitol is a two-row winter barley that joins the Recommended List this year and is a sister variety to LG Caravelle, offering similar yields and consistency of performance over seasons and regions. Its yields sit just 0.1% behind that of LG Caravelle, at 105.5%.

LG Capitol also combines a high specific weight and ripening, similar to KWS Tardis, with a solid disease resistance profile and good straw attributes.

 
Highest yielding OSR

The top three highest yielding oilseed rape varieties on the 2024/25 AHDB Recommended List all come from the Limagrain stable, offering exceptional consistency over regions and seasons.

LG Armada tops the UK and E/W List at 107%, LG Academic follows 1% behind at 106%, with LG Adeline taking pole position on the Northern List with an outstanding yield of 108.3%.

LG Armada is one of the next generation of versatile high yielding oilseed rape varieties, improving on the characteristic trait loaded-hybrids that growers have come to expect from Limagrain.

“‘Ambassador-like’ in its growth habit, LG Armada has strong autumn vigour, is robust, with good adaptability to all regions of the UK,” says Limagrain’s oilseeds product manager, Liam Wilkinson.

Liam Wilkinson - Limagrain UK in Oilseed Rape trial plots“LG Armada is the first of our seventh generation of hybrids, bringing new maintainer and restorer lines to our OSR portfolio. This effectively means we are bringing varieties to market offering a stacked portfolio of much improved stem health attributes, alongside the standard pod shatter, TuYV and RLM7 resistance traits.”

“We know stem health is key to driving consistent oilseed rape yields across farms and with these seventh-generation hybrids, we are seeing bigger stems and better rooting which also results in higher oil content,” he says.

 
Highest yielding maize

Limagrain’s maize variety, Saxon was added to the BSPB 2023 Forage Maize Descriptive List and has made the top of the list for 2024 for its ME yield of 225 (‘000s MJ/ha). It has dry matter yields of 19.1 t/ha, making it ideal for all uses, including anaerobic digestion.

“On the Descriptive List, Saxon yields 105% of the average and additionally is quite an early variety with an FAO of 180,” says Tim Richmond, Limagrain’s product manager for maize.

Saxon combines superb early vigour with good standing power, making it perfectly suited for all mainstream maize sites.”

“LGAN has long been the watchword for maize varieties that deliver what really counts – high yields of high-quality feeds that sustain excellent milk yields. Saxon is one of the latest examples of the benefit of breeding varieties that deliver in the clamp.”

To learn more about how any of these varieties could perform on your farm, click the links below;
LG Maize
LG Winter Wheat
LG Winter Barley
LG OSR

 

Five priorities when choosing a spring barley variety

Five priorities when choosing a spring barley variety

Spring barley is an important rotational option on many farms, and more growers may be looking to the crop in 2024 as exceptionally wet autumn weather has disrupted winter cropping plans.

But, whether the decision to grow spring barley is planned or unplanned, There are some key factors to consider says Limagrain UK arable technical manager, Ron Granger.

Market requirements

Start by fully understanding your grain buyer’s requirements in terms of variety and grain quality, especially when looking to supply premium brewing or distilling markets.

In some instances, contract specifications will dictate the variety that must be grown to supply a particular market, and criteria such as grain nitrogen content, will have an important impact on agronomic decisions and crop inputs throughout the season.

Dual use potential

Where variety choice is not dictated by the end user, growers have flexibility to select one that suits their requirements, growing conditions and farm situation.

Mr Granger recommends considering a dual use variety such as LG Diablo, which combines decent yield performance, with multiple end market opportunities, offering an advantage over many varieties now listed.

Vigour and tillering capacity

LG Diablo offers excellent spring vigour and high tillering capacity, which is a valuable trait in spring barley given the relatively short growing period.

The best way to maximise spring barley yield potential is to ensure high final ear counts. An 8-9 t/ha crop needs around 800 ears/m2, which at a 350 seeds/m2 rate, equates to around 2.5-3 tillers per plant at harvest.

Choosing a more vigorous tillering variety will help, as it will give some reassurance that the optimum tiller count will be reached.

Where spring barley is being used in a black-grass situation, it is important that a vigorous, high tillering variety is selected, as a high tiller number must be ensured for the variety to compete.

Spring barley is a fast-growing crop and if key nutrients are deficient at any time, yield potential will be affected.

Limagrain trials show that higher yielding varieties respond positively to higher nitrogen inputs, due to their increased yield potential and,more importantly, a dilution of grain nitrogen content.

Phosphate, potash, magnesium and sulphur, have proven beneficial to tiller retention and final yield, while micronutrients, including manganese, zinc, copper, iron, and boron, applied at the stem extension phase into flowering, are also useful.

Disease resistance

Strong disease resistance is an important characteristic to look for in any variety, and spring barley is no exception, with mildew, rhynchosporium, and brown rust being the main considerations, says Mr Granger.

Early drilling can significantly increase disease risk, so it may be particularly important to consider more disease resistant varieties for this situation.

Resistance to lodging/brackling

Choosing a variety with good straw characteristics, is key to protecting yield and grain quality at harvest and potentially offers another significant output from the crop.

While a variety’s RL ratings for lodging and brackling provide a useful indication, it is also important to recognise the role that agronomic decisions play, notably around seed rate, nutrition, and the use/timing of growth regulators.

 

Reprieve for maize seed treatments confirmed
Limagrain UK is pleased to announce that the impending ban on maize seed treatments has been lifted following a successful lobbying campaign, with the granting of Emergency Authorisations allowing seed treated with three key seed treatments to be imported into and grown in the UK in 2024.

The future viability of maize being grown in the UK has been in question due to an impending ban on seed treatments not registered for use in the UK. These include Korit (ziram) bird deterrent, Redigo M (prothioconazole + metalaxyl) fungicide and Force 20 CS (tefluthrin) insecticide, with the use of all three products due to be banned from 31st December 2023. After this date it would have been illegal to import, sell or sow any seed which has been treated with any of these products, putting into doubt the future viability of maize grown for livestock forage or as a feedstock for anaerobic digestion (AD) plants.

Tim Richmond

“Without a suitable bird repellent, insecticide and fungicide, there’s a substantial risk that newly drilled crops could be completely wiped out by corvid grazing, or seriously hindered by insect damage and soil-borne pathogens,” explains Tim Richmond, Maize Manager for Limagrain Field Seeds in the UK and Ireland.

“To counter the ban, which has threatened the industry as a result of the UK’s departure from the EU, Limagrain set up and spearheaded an industry working group to lobby the Government into taking action. We can now announce that all three products have been granted an Emergency Authorisation, meaning that treated seed will be allowed to be imported into, and used in the UK next year.”

But the campaign doesn’t end here Mr Richmond continues. “Whilst the emergency use authorisations are a significant win for the industry, they are by no means a permanent solution. We are therefore continuing to lobby on behalf of all UK maize growers to secure a more sustainable solution in the form of a longer-term delay on the ban which will require a change in UK law, and will encourage the CRD (Chemicals Regulation Division) to ensure the next generation of maize seed treatments are approved at a regulatory level as quickly as possible.”

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT OUR MAIZE VARIETIES HERE

Pre-harvest tests indicate maize is on track to produce a promising crop

Pre-harvest crop analyses, carried out by Limagrain on behalf of local maize growers, indicate that most stands of maize are on track to produce a promising crop, with the majority predicted to be ready for harvest in the next week to 10 days.

The pre-harvest tests (for dry matter, starch, non-digestible fibre, cell wall digestibility and metabolisable energy content) were carried out at a maize demonstration and testing day, hosted by Limagrain and Spunhill at Limagrain’s maize variety trial site on the outskirts of Wrexham.

The event was attended by more than 40 farm businesses from across the region who not only had their own crop samples tested for free, but were also given a tour of the Limagrain variety trial where the latest forage, grain and energy crop varieties are being assessed in an on-farm situation.

“The tests clearly indicated that whilst a minority of crops are already at the point of harvest, the majority are still a week or more away from being ready, with dry matter levels still a little on the low side,” describes Henry Louth, Key Account Manager, Forage Crops, Limagrain UK.

Henry Louth chatting to maize growers in Bangor on Dee

“For most maize growers, the start of this year’s harvest has been delayed by about a fortnight as a result of July’s dull and overcast conditions which saw sunshine hours at 81% of the average for the month. Most crops have caught up well since then, with a few notable ‘very early’ varieties including Dignity and Gema really standing out in terms of maturity. Those two varieties tested particularly well for dry matter, starch and ME content, and also recorded excellent results for cell wall digestibilty.

“If conditions in early October are favourable, we should see most growers taking their crops before the middle of the month, which will hopefully make for a clean and easy harvest and a good quality ensiled crop.”

The event was attended by by more than 40 farm businesses from across the region who had their maize crops tested for dry matter, starch and ME content, and cell wall digestibility.

The tests indicated that the majority of the region’s maize crops  should be ready to be harvested by the middle of October.