Growing Quality Maize for 2024

For many growers, maize silage remains the energy driver of the ration and combined with good grass silage allows maximum production from home grown forage.

The weather conditions in the UK are becoming more challenging and building resilient soils that can cope with drought and flooding is key to long term success and livestock farming allows this to be achieved easier with the addition of manures and cover crops to improve soil structure and organic matter levels.

On Friday 10 November the MGA had notification that their application for Emergency Authorisation for the maize seed dressings Redigo M a fungicide, Korit a bird deterrent, and the wireworm product Force ST had been approved by the UK regulators. This Emergency approval is for 2024 giving certainty for maize production in 2024.

Defra are also putting primary legislation before Parliament in December which requires a vote to allow the continued use of these maize seed treatments in the UK until 2027. These changes have been necessary following Brexit since all pesticides need to be on the UK pesticide register after 31 December 2023.

The seed dressing manufacturers are now working on discovering and registering new bird deterrent products because Korit is due for re-registration in Europe after 2025.

The NIAB Descriptive List provides growers with independent data on the performance of maize varieties and a simple flow chart produced by the MGA using your own farms information will inform you which maturity of maize to grow.

Recent breeding has increased the level of yield of the very early varieties so that there is no yield lag in growing a variety that will mature early and allow harvest to occur in September.  Breeder information has also been collected in the last few years on performance in drought conditions if you are growing on very light soils.

Two key varieties that have performed well for DBL members are Faith and Emeleen from Horizon Seeds.

Faith is a maturity 9 variety with a yield of 104% (18.5t DM/ha) on the NIAB Less Favourable list with a starch content of 34.5% and a ME of 11.7. This robust plant has good early vigour and seed will be available with Force and Korit for wireworm and leatherjacket control if you are following long term grass or countryside stewardship strips where these soil pests are increasingly occurring.

Emeleen is the 2nd highest yielding variety on the Favourable list after Palladium, but is earlier in maturity being a maturity 7 variety. Emeleen is 106% yield with 19.3t DM/ha, has a starch content of 29.3% and an ME of 11.5. Emeleen also has good vigour and an excellent eyespot resistance of 7.2.

Key for good maize crops is to ensure that the soil structure and seed beds are good, feed the crop well, and ensure weeds are controlled early. Monitoring crop maturity at harvest twice a week is also important as modern varieties reach 32% quickly and the plant will still be green ensuring that silage has high starch and sugars to optimise fermentation and the preservation of energy in the clamp.

If you would like to discuss your maize seed requirements,
please contact Louise on 07943 684215 or e-mail