This article has previously been published in the Farmers Guide.
This year’s maize crop performance has been “highly variable,” according to Andrew Cook of seed breeder, KWS. Many growers in low rainfall areas in the South of England have significant concerns about forage stocks while further north, silage clamps are expected to see farms through the winter and beyond.
Despite its ups and downs, the 2022 season for maize is over for the majority and thoughts are already turning to varietal decisions for spring sowing. Mr Cook points to KWS Pasco as one of the stand-out varieties for next year. However, he warns that depressed yields across Europe due to droughts have left maize seed likely to be in short supply and therefore orders for specific varieties will need to be placed in good time. When selecting varieties for the coming season, it is recommended that decisions are based on the average conditions for individual farms and not on the extreme weather experienced over the past two years.
“KWS Pasco was added to the BSPB Forage Maize Descriptive List (DL) for 2023 as a first choice variety for both favourable and less favourable sites,” says Mr Cook. “It has a tremendous dry matter yield potential of 19.3 tonnes/hectare. It has a balanced starch content of 35.5 per cent and a high energy figure of 11.77 MJ/kg/DM; this makes it an ideal variety for high maize inclusion diets and it is useful for boosting ration energy density.
“KWS Pasco is an early/maincrop with an FAO, or maturity rating, of 170/180, a favourable lodging score and good eyespot resistance, as well as showing early vigour across all soil types. Another benefit of KWS Pasco is its suitability for corn cob mix; with livestock concentrate prices at an all-time high CCM offers a superb quality, home-grown feed option.”
Another notable high-starch variety is the maincrop KWS Anastasio (FAO 180/190), he says. It is also a new addition to the DL.
“KWS Anastasio has been given a starch content average of 32.0 per cent and has an average yield of 19.6 tonnes/hectare dry matter, with ME at 11.57MJ/kg/DM. KWS Anastasio has strong standing power, a high score for eyespot resistance and early vigour on favourable sites. With its high grain yield starch content and excellent standing power, it is highly suitable for CCM, crimped or dried grain.”
Debalto (FAO 170) is also listed this year for the first time. It offers strong yield performance in its maturity segment and is ideal for moderate-to-high TMR inclusion and/or beef finishing. For growers looking for rapid establishment, Debalto offers one of the best early vigour scores on the List. All three KWS varieties are also suitable for biogas; especially for growers wishing to spread their harvest window.