A grower from Shropshire is the lucky winner of this year’s KWS Maize Variety Portfolio prize draw competition, with a Flintshire farmer awarded the prize for the runner-up.
Jack Hinwood, of Withypool Farm in Shropshire, received a Makita tool kit worth £700, while Tom Evans was given a Makita drill worth £170. The prize draw competition was open to growers who ordered copies of the 2018 KWS Maize Variety Portfolio, which is packed with information about the latest KWS varieties. Split into sections for either forage maize or maize for biogas, it provides comprehensive information about individual varieties, categorising their suitability for a range of locations and soil types. In addition, the Portfolio supplies data in chart form, to allow growers to compare starch content and starch yield figures across the varieties, as well as containing tips on maize management, including drilling and harvesting advice.
Jack Hinwood and his father, Paul, established an anaerobic digester (AD) plant on their farm in early 2016 and currently supply enough power to the National Grid to support almost 1,500 homes. They plant 550 acres of maize each year, with about half of the crop grown on other holdings in the region. Maize is not a new crop for the family, as it has always been regarded as an excellent forage material for their beef store cattle enterprise.
KWS varieties have been planted exclusively for this year and include Kaspian, Avitus and Augustus. In 2017, Avitus was the stand-out performer, with the entire crop producing an average yield of 18 tonnes/acre. Introduced for the first time this year was Cito, which is looking “very good,” according to Jack Hinwood.
“Our farm is in a relatively elevated position and we are not in the most favourable maize-growing area,” he says. “Therefore, we need to plant ultra-early varieties, to give them a longer season and time to mature so that we can harvest before the bad weather sets in; our harvest date for the past two years has been the first week in November. Avitus in particular has performed well on our farm.
“The AD plant has been a good move for us and we no longer finish 3,000 store lambs every year,” he adds. “The only issue has been that it requires about 10% more feedstock than we had anticipated. At present, we are looking into the possibility of setting up a complementary new enterprise; greenhouses would be one example, although no firm decisions have yet been made. We attended the KWS maize energy open day at the company’s Gloucestershire headquarters last year and we found it very useful for picking up the latest information.”
The Hinwoods also grow some 500 acres of rye.
“We have been growing rye for several years and it is now used to supply the AD plant, as well as to feed the cattle,” comments Mr Hinwood. “It offers better margins, compared with wholecrop wheat or barley, and it is a relatively straightforward crop to grow. This year, we have KWS Propower and KWS Progas in the ground.”
The tool kit won by Mr Hinwood comprised a Makita 18v combi-drill and impact driver, along with an 18v brushless grinder, a Makita 230mm grinder, three batteries and a charger.
Meanwhile, the runner-up in the prize draw was Tom Evans, of Maesyyd Farm in Holywell, Flintshire, who was presented with a Makita 18v combi-drill and impact driver kit.
“We used to grow a small acreage of maize to feed our dairy cows, but it has not been planted for a few years, due to the lack of labour and the fact that we are in a wet area,” explains Mr Evans.
“However, we are thinking of re-introducing maize on a larger scale, because we have more help now and it is a very good feed for boosting milk yields. If we decide to go ahead, we will probably choose an ultra-early variety, so that we have the potential opportunity for an early harvest.”
Copies of the KWS Maize Varieties Portfolio for 2019 will be available from September. To reserve a copy, please telephone the KWS maize office on 01594 528234 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org