Back Maize silage yields high and increasing

Date: 19 October 2015

Each year Pioneer® brand products introduces new maize hybrids, tested for local growing conditions and which deliver a high level of yield reliability to growers and farmers.

Since the introduction of Pioneer's New Zealand silage trial programme in 1991, silage yields have increased by an average of 310 kgDM/ha/year.

While some of this seasons crops were affected by the extreme weather seen in parts of the country, it was a season of great harvests with the national average yield from the New Zealand Pioneer trialling programme being 23.77 tDM/ha, compared to 20.76 tDM/ha 10 years ago.

In the Waikato the 40 silage Product Advancement trials (PAT) had an average harvest of 25.38 tDM/ha with only one of these below 20 tDM/ha. In the Lower North Island and Taranaki there were 42 PAT crops that averaged 23.07 tDM/ha with only five harvests below 20 tDM/ha.

Pioneer® brand products Maize Product Manager, Barry McCarter says planning is at an advanced stage for 235 silage PAT strips this coming season located at farm sites in every growing region throughout New Zealand, including almost 50 in the South Island, to assure farmers and growers that Pioneer's offer of "Right Product, Right Paddock" is backed by well tested results and is not just a catchy slogan.

"Our trials are conducted under a range of growing environments from high fertility dairy farm paddocks to challenging repeat cropping ground" says McCarter. "This allows us to test our products under the conditions local growers will plant them in".

"There are more than 50 Pioneer maize breeding centres around the world so the overall effort is huge. We are tapped into that progress and each year we test a selection we think will do well here."

In recent years the New Zealand trialling programme has evaluated over 100 hybrids each season. It takes three to four years of plot trials, and on-farm evaluations at different sites before a hybrid is introduced commercially to New Zealand growers. Typically a new release will last around five years in the Pioneer line-up before being superseded by new, improved genetics
"This ensures local grower get access through Pioneer to the best maize genetics available. There's no lag time and every new hybrid is thoroughly evaluated for local conditions."

McCarter says a recurring question is ‘what's the ceiling for yields?

"In the last 5 years 279 silage plots have yielded more than 30 tDM/ha, 29 plots have yielded more than 35 tDM/ha and a handful have produced over 40 tDM/ha" says McCarter. "We know our hybrids have huge genetic potential and it is exciting to see this being expressed on New Zealand farms".

"Today's hybrids have improved stress tolerance, a higher grain-to-stover ratio, better stalks and roots, more upright leaves, better staygreen, and deeper roots than older hybrids", says McCarter. "Maize yield gains show no signs of abating and so growers can expect even more high quality drymatter from their crops in the future".

For more information on how to maximise your maize silage yield and reduce your supplementary feed costs contact your local merchant or Pioneer representative.