Points to Consider for Growing a Successful Crop of Forage Maize

Maize silage is a high energy starch-rich palatable feed ideal for ruminant rations. It is a reliable and consistent forage, which helps support high levels of animal performance. Paying attention to variety choice and agronomy are critical to achieving the benefits of the crop.

A south facing, warm, sheltered site is the ideal location for maize as growing it in an unsuitable site is a costly exercise. The soil type should be free draining with a target Ph of 6.5.

Selecting varieties by overall maturity is the basis for successful growing, both in favourable and more difficult years. Varieties are classified into different maturity groups recommended for different site and field conditions.

Later maturing varieties tend to offer a very high energy yield and moderate starch, whereas earlier maturing varieties have high starch content which will supply increased energy.

Sowing maize under plastic is often considered as an insurance policy for the success of the crop, but there is a significant cost associated with sowing under plastic and if conditions are marginal then plastic will not aid the crop enough to justify the spend.