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Three new forage maize varieties from Limagrain have been added to the BSPB/NIAB Descriptive List for 2023-24. The list compares major maize varieties across... Three Limagrain varieties added to maize list

Three new forage maize varieties from Limagrain have been added to the BSPB/NIAB Descriptive List for 2023-24.

The list compares major maize varieties across the key growing locations of the UK. Comparisons are made on crop dry matter, crop yield, agronomic data such as lodging, and quality characteristics of starch and energy.

Two very early maturing Limagrain varieties – Skipper and Foxtrot – sit atop the new list of first choice varieties for favourable sites. The third variety – later maturing LG31207 – tops the list for very favourable sites.

Suitable sites

Skipper and Foxtrot are ranked numbers one and two respectively as first choice varieties for starch yield on favourable sites. Meanwhile, while LG31207 tops the chart for ME yield for varieties suited to very favourable sites.

Skipper is ideal for farmers who want to fill their clamps with a very early maturing crop of exceptionally energy-rich and starch-filled maize, says Limagrain maize manager Tim Richmond.

“Skipper also performs well on marginal sites, where its good early vigour (6.9), excellent standing power (7.6) and early ripening cobs deliver an easy to harvest crop that gives exceptional dry matter and energy yields.”

Foxtrot is classified as a very early maturing variety and is second only to Skipper in terms of starch yield (6.54 t/ha). It scores well for ME yield (222,363 MJ/ha), DM yield (18.7 t/ha) early vigour (7.2) and cell wall digestibility (59.4%).

Bulky early maturer

“Foxtrot is ideal for dairy and beef farmers who are looking for a bulky and very early maturing variety that will improve the feed conversion efficiency of their herd’s ration,” says Mr Richmond.

The third new Limagrain variety to be added to this year’s descriptive list is LG31207. Classed as an intermediate to late-maturing variety, Mr Richmond says it is of the best varieties for very favourable sites.

It scores well for ME yield (217,115 MJ/ha), dry matter yield (18.7 t/ha), standing power (8.0) , early vigour (8.2) and eyespot resistance 7.5, making it a safe choice for growers looking for an energy-rich, easy to grow variety for AD purposes, he adds.

“LG31207 is impressive on paper and in the field, and is the perfect choice for those growers looking to maximise their return on investment with a variety that poses minimal risk,” says Mr Richmond.

Reprieve for seed-treated maize confirmed

Treated maize seed will still be available for the upcoming season after the government confirmed that an impending ban on treatments will not be imposed.. 

The viability of UK-grown maize had been in question due to an impending ban on all seed treatments including Korit (ziram) bird deterrent, Redigo M (prothioconazole + metalaxyl) fungicide and Force 20 CS (tefluthrin) insecticide.

The ban would have made  it illegal after 31 December to import, sell or sow any seed which has been treated with any of these products – leaving crops at significant risk of failure.

“Without a suitable bird repellent, insecticide and fungicide, there’s a substantial risk that newly drilled crops could be completely wiped out by corvid grazing, or seriously hindered by insect damage and soil-borne pathogens,” says Limagrain maize manager Tim Richmond

An industry working group was set up to lobby the government to retain ssed treatments on maize. Alongside Limagrain UK, other working group members included the NFU, Maize Growers Association and the Agricultural Industries Confederation.

A number of emergency authorisation (EA) applications were made to the regulators for the continued use of these treatments for sowing in spring 2024, as the government decided whether or not to go ahead with the seed treatment ban.

Mr Richmond said he was pleased that ongoing discussions with farm minister Mark Spencer resulted in a favourable outcome. A final decision and announcement was made by Defra last month.