Maize variety selection for the 2024 growing season

Twelve new varieties have been added to the British Society of Plant Breeder’s 2024 Forage Maize Descriptive Lists (DL), published today.

Skipper and Foxtrot from Limagrain, Faith, Emeleen, Crosbey and ES Palladium from Grainseed, alongside SY Silverbull from Syngenta, are new entrants on the 2024 Favourable First Choice List. RGT Easixx and RGT Bluefoxx (RAGT), KWS Resolvo (KWS), Glencoe and LG31207 (Limagrain) have been added to the Favourable Second Choice List. Skipper, Faith and SY Silverbull also feature on the Less Favourable First Choice List, with Foxtrot, RGT Easixx, RGT Bluefoxx and KWS Resolvo added to the Less Favourable Second Choice List. LG31207 (Limagrain) has been added to the Very Favourable DL.

Jeremy Widdowson, BSPB’s Variety Trials Co-ordinator, explains how each List differs. “The Favourable DL uses trial data from sites with the longest potential growing season, with warmer spring soils for early establishment. Trials data from Less Favourable sites show the performance of varieties in shorter, cooler growing seasons. The Very Favourable DL is produced from specific trials sites where breeders choose to test later maturing varieties with highest yield potential and suitable for producers growing to maximise yield as a feedstock for anaerobic digesters where sites have a long growing season and very favourable conditions.”

Favourable sites DL

Of the new earlier maturing varieties, Faith is the highest yielding on the Favourable DL at 19.0 t DM/ha, with a metabolisable energy (ME) yield of 222 kMJ/ha and a starch yield of 6.47 t/ha. Skipper and Foxtrot are not far behind in yield at 18.8 and 18.7 t DM/ha respectively, with an ME yield of 221 kMJ/ha for Skipper and 222 kMJ/ha for Foxtrot. The starch yield for Skipper is 6.74 t/ha with Foxtrot at 6.54 t/ha.

Based on limited data, all three varieties show some susceptibility to eyespot, so may be less suitable in damper growing conditions. ES Palladium is the highest yielding of the later maturity varieties at 19.4 t DM/ha with a metabolisable energy (ME) yield of 223 kMJ/ha.

Less Favourable sites

Of the Less Favourable DL varieties, Skipper, Foxtrot and RGT Easixx sit just behind Faith with a yield of 18.5 t DM/ha at 35.2% DM, starch at 34.5% and good early vigour. The starch yield for Skipper at 6.62 t/ha is good and, based on limited data, SY Silverbull has an eyespot rating of 6.1 which is the highest of the new varieties for this List.

Very Favourable sites

One variety has been added to the Very Favourable DL; LG31207 has a dry matter yield at 18.7 t DM/ha with good ME yield, good early vigour and good standing power. The ME yield is an important factor for achieving high biogas yields.

The BSPB 2024 Forage Maize Descriptive Lists are available to download from the BSPB and NIAB websites.

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