Hutchinsons have been conducting maize trials and farm demonstrations for many years in locations across the UK which focus on varietal differentiation and agronomic factors such as nutrition, weed control, row spacing, undersowing etc, says Peter Brundle, Hutchinsons southern seed manager.

“This will be our fifth year of conducting trials across Suffolk at selected sites with a similar soil type. It is a favourable site location with lighter soils, aimed at growing maize for the biogas market.”

“Every year has been different from a climatic perspective, the current dry and hot weather being a good example. To date the trials have shown that there are some varieties which seem able to cross the boundaries of climatic variables and provide consistent results,” he says.

“The Pioneer range has been most consistent with P7892 a good producer of Metabolisable Energy (ME), classified as “Very Early Maturity” giving excellent, reliable performance. Newer varieties, P7326 and KWS Autens, have also performed well in the early maturity sector.”

Later varieties which offer the prospect of longer season growth, a later harvest date and potentially more ME in the right conditions, have also been assessed in the trials.

“Indexx from RAGT has shown to be very consistent, with the highest dry matter yields and close to top ME levels. Movanna from DSV has also shown reliability.”

In addition to collating variety data, we are also recording agronomical variables and have looked at spatial arrangements using Indexx at 500mm and 750mm row widths and there is little doubt that the closer spacing in stressed conditions is providing better results in ME production, adds Mr Brundle.

Further work is being undertaken by Hutchinson on this year’s crop and varieties have been selected across the maturity spectrum RGT Duxxbury (fao160), P7326 (fao180), P7378 (fao180), Movanna (fao210), RGT Indexx (fao230)

“We are also applying a range of nutritional and spray programmes across the varieties to assess optimum performance in the hot, dry conditions.”

“In contrast, our northern trial at Longtown, Carlisle is grown under plastic using the SAMCO system. A wide range of varieties are being demonstrated this year with material from Pioneer, KWS, RAGT, DSV and Germinal seeds. Pioneer varieties have performed very consistently over past years using this growing method.”