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For some time now, maize growers have been confronted by a huge list of varieties to choose from and that, in itself, has contributed to a degree of confusion and puzzlement as to which one to choose for their particular farming situation, writes Trevor Hayne.

There are a total of 71 varieties on the NIAB Descriptive List for 2012 – thirty seven being first choice with thirty four being second choice. Add this onto an ever growing list of material that has dropped off the list or never even made it on there in the first place and, quite realistically, there could be over 100 varieties that farmers could realistically choose from with each one being marketed in such a way that leaves the buyer somewhat bewildered and perplexed.

Some farmers place dry matter yield as their main priority whilst others prefer earliness and high starch. Some sites are more marginal than others and therefore early vigour and standing power are essential characteristics and lately, more and more farmers are demanding material with high ME and megajoule production. However, the largest proportion of maize growers, not surprisingly, are asking for material that supplies all of the above – namely varieties that are early/very early, produce high levels of both dry matter and starch, high megajoule output plus good early vigour and standing power.

Leading international plant breeder Limagrain UK, having recognized the confusion that maize growers are often confronted with when trying to make a buying decision, have introduced a totally new concept into the market place which will enable growers to select maize varieties that offer the most superior feeding value for both dairy and beef cattle as well as offering the best all round growing characteristics that are so essential for the bulk of our west country sites. This new concept was recently launched by Limagrain as ‘LG Animal Nutrition’ or LGAN and the first two Limagrain maize varieties that qualify for this accreditation are Ambition and Activate – both of which are capable of producing exceptional yields of starch with improved cell wall digestibility which will ultimately lead to higher milk production and better LWG’s for the beef animal. Cell wall digestibility figures has been introduced by NIAB for the first time this year and will no doubt prove to be invaluable when farmers are selecting for improved feeding performance.

Limagrain’s Tim Richmond explains “LG Animal Nutrition will help maize growers to maximize their returns from the crop by selecting varieties that will give improved animal performance and cost effectiveness and farmers can rest assured that each and every variety that is marketed as such will be unsurpassed in feeding potential. We are delighted with the performance of the two LGAN varieties Ambition and Activate and are extremely encouraged with all the positive comments from growers last year – a testing year to say the least. These two varieties are quite simply the best – of the best.’’