Maize is a sub-tropical crop with its origins in the warmer climates of Central America. Advancements in breeding and improved agronomy allows growers in Ireland to achieve high dry matter yields in excess of 18t DM/ha from some maize crops. The best crops are grown on the best soils and sites. The crop is best suited to south-facing soils, which warm up fast in the spring and also allow silage machinery to travel into late October without causing damage to soil structure.
Maize produces good-quality conserved forage for ruminants. The starch, energy and intake characteristics of maize silage, together with its high dry matter yield potential make it a premium forage crop.
Maize has poor tolerance of acidic soils (<pH 5.0), therefore achieving the right pH is the first priority. To encourage rapid growth, all of the phosphate and up to 10–15kg/ha (8–12 units/acre) of the nitrogen (N) required, can be placed below the seed at drilling. The remainder of the N can be top-dressed when the crop emerges.
Maize silage is a good cereal replacement due to high starch levels, but its protein content is low. If fed with a high-protein component, it can provide a well-balanced, cost-effective feed for animals at key stages in their production cycle.
Ensure adequate cob maturity with grains at the hard dough/hard ripe stage. Aim to harvest the crop at 30-35% DM, when the cob is hard with no liquid running when squeezed.
Sowing time: March – May (depending on location)
Sowing rate: 100,000 seeds/ha (under plastic)
YIELD & FEED QUALITY
Average DM yield: 15 -20 tonne DM/ha
Dry Matter: 28-35%
Crude protein: 8-9%
Digestibility: 70 -72% (D value)
Metabolisable energy: 10.8 – 11.5Mj/kg DM
Contact your local Drummonds branch for more information.