Seed breeder Limagrain has an ongoing trials programme to evaluate the performance of different varieties of maize when grown under plastic. In the 2013 trial, all Limagrain varieties emerged successfully though the plastic cover and went on to produce mature plants. Of particular note was the performance of varieties: Ambition, Asgaard, Beethoven and LG30.211.
Limagrain has been conducting maize under plastic for the past four years. Last yearâs trial of 44 varieties was sown near Newark in Lincolnshire on 22 April, and harvested on 16 September.
The highest yielding variety in the trial was LG30.211 which delivered 18.8t/ha of DM, and had reached 29% DM at harvest. Limagrainâs Tim Richmond explains: âAlthough not on the NIAB list, LG30.211 is the best-selling variety in Holland and its high digestibility makes it very popular with Dutch farmers.â
The earliest maturing variety was Ambition, which had a DM content of 35% at harvest and yielded 17.7t/ha. Ambition yielded 0.1t/ha more than late maturing old favourite Justina and 1.1t/ha more than Benicia, another late maturing variety from the Continent.
Mr Richmond adds: âAmbition was the biggest selling variety in the UK last year and these trial results serve to show how robust it is â it consistently performs well both when sown in the open and under plastic. Award, another Limagrain variety, has also continued to be reliable, acting as the control variety in both the UK and Irish trials.â
The best compromise between earliness and DM yield was provided by Beethoven and Asgaard (a new variety due to be NIAB-Listed in 2015). They were both harvested at a DM content of 31%, with Asgaard yielding 18.4t/ha DM, and Beethoven, 18t/ha.
For more information on recommended varieties for growing under plastic, farmers and contractors can visit www.limagrain.co.uk and download the new Variety Selection Guide which includes data on all the varieties on the 2014 NIAB List. The Guide also includes information and variety recommendations for grain maize and AD plants.