High Park Farm, Devon
Andrew Hockridge has been growing maize on the family dairy farm for more than twenty years and first planted Avitus KWS at High Park Farm in its debut commercial season in 2017.
The variety was recommended due to its very high yield and starch potential, along with its rapid early vigour. That is important to Andrew and his son, Peter, who milk 250 pedigree Holstein Friesians which are fed on maize silage throughout the year. They have found a crop management system which works well for them.
“Maize is a large crop and it requires good nutrition, to maximise yields,” says Andrew. “Fields receive slurry and DAP fertiliser is applied down the spout, to get the young plants off to a good start.”
The farm’s soil sampling programme, which tests each field every three years, is an essential element of the regime, stresses Andrew.
“We aim for a total nitrogen application of 150kgs/ha, usually from a combination of slurry and artificial fertiliser. When conditions allow, slurry is incorporated within 24 hours of application, to reduce the volatilisation of ammonia.”
Chemical sprays are used sparingly, to save on inputs.
“We rely on choosing a variety with good resistance, so that we only require a fungicide in high risk periods. We also delay drilling until the soil temperature has reached 10 degrees Centigrade for seven consecutive days. This helps to promote early maturity and increases the chance of a successful harvest.”
Due to maize’s dislike of competition, the Hockridges feel it is worth investing in a robust weed control plan and a pre-emergence herbicide is followed by a post-emergence treatment at three leaves.
“Maize silage is a fantastic feedstuff for dairy cows and we feel very fortunate that it thrives in our farm situation,” says Andrew.
To order your Avitus KWS seed call Agrii on +44 1280 848848 / +44 7767 310454