Hybrid selection – an important place to start your next crop.

Hybrid selection – an important place to start your next crop.

3 May 2020

Maize silage has become an increasingly important part of the New Zealand dairy farm system. There are many reasons for this: the increasing frequency and severity of dry summers, the desire to grow more drymatter per hectare, the desire to tap the environmental benefits of growing and feeding the crop, and the introduction of the FEI by Fonterra.

Having the right maize hybrid to suit your farm is critical when it comes to achieving optimal yield. Optimal yield does not necessarily mean maximum yield as you also need to choose a hybrid that fits your system. While yield potential is a key consideration when it comes to selecting a hybrid, maturity and agronomic traits are also important. In order to get the paddock back into grass as quickly as possible after the maize crop has been harvested, the use of a hybrid with the correct target maturity for the growing region is a key consideration.

Select a hybrid with the right maturity:

To reach harvest maturity, the maize plant needs to accumulate a certain amount of heat. Comparative Relative Maturity (CRM) is a measure of the amount of heat a maize hybrid requires to reach harvest maturity. Short maturity (low CRM) hybrids require less heat than longer maturity hybrids (higher CRMs).

Pioneer’s annual Maize for Silage catalogue provides detailed information about each hybrid, including an approximate number of days from planting to harvest, by district and region. Choose the hybrid maturity group that best suits your regrassing programme.

Select hybrids with the right agronomic traits:

Each farm has different environmental challenges, so selecting hybrids that have high ratings for the agronomic traits important on your farm will help ensure stable yields. For example, if you are planting maize on light soils in a drought prone area, choose a hybrid with a good drought tolerance rating.

Select a hybrid that delivers high drymatter yields:

Each year, Pioneer conducts a large number of on-farm trials that compare one hybrid against a group of others.

With genetics constantly improving, it’s important to monitor the yield performance of the hybrid you plan to plant against similar hybrids to ensure you are selecting the highest performing hybrid.

New hybrids available for 2020

This season two new Pioneer maize silage hybrids will be introduced for the first time. Their overall agronomic and yield offerings make these hybrids worthy of consideration. These hybrids are:

P8666 (CRM 86). P8666 is a tall bulky plant with impressive all-round agronomics, Northern Leaf Blight resistance, drought tolerance and staygreen while delivering highly digestible silage. It is widely adapted from Ashburton to Dargaville.

P9874 (CRM 98) P9874 is a new addition to the AQUAmax range, handling drought and heat to deliver exceptional yield stability. It is a modern, erect-leafed hybrid that is modest in height, but with low ear placement, and sound stalks and roots. It is widely adapted in the North Island where this maturity is required.

It may feel as though you’ve just harvested your maize crop, but now is a great time to select your hybrid(s) for the coming season.

Pioneer offers an early order maize scheme that reduces the risk of the impact of crop failure after planting. If you order before July 31st, we offer 100% seed replacement should your planting fail (terms and conditions apply). By ordering early, you are also more likely to get the hybrid of your choice.

For further information contact your local maize Seed Merchant, check out the website @ pioneer.co.nz or call 0800 PIONEER (0800 746 633).