Back Drought in maize silage

Date: 06 March 2014

High temperatures and low rainfall have contributed to severe soil moisture deficits in many parts of the upper North Island.

Maize is a deep rooted crop that has a summer water use efficiency up to three times greater than ryegrass, however some crops are now starting to show signs of moderate to severe drought stress. Our Pioneer Technical Insight on Drought in Maize Silage provides information on the effects of drought in maize. It outlines when drought stressed maize should be harvested and provides recommendations for greenfeeding and ensiling drought stressed crops.

If you are harvesting a drought stressed maize silage crop that is already very dry (>38% DM) the following should be considered

1. Reduce chop length. A fine chop length releases more plant fluids. Crops that are over 38% drymatter should be chopped at 8-10 mm theoretical chop length.

2. Apply Pioneer® brand 11C33 silage inoculant. Dry, drought affected crops are prone to heating and spoilage at feed-out time. 11C33 helps to keep silage cool for longer.

3. Ensure your contractor processes kernels well. Kernel processing improves kernel starch digestibility by breaking the hard exterior of the kernel.

4. Maximise compaction. As drymatter increases, the use of more vehicles, heavier vehicles, a greater rolling time or a combination of these factors is recommended. Spread the maize into thin layers.

Crop management recommendations should be made on a case-by-case basis. Contact your local merchant or Pioneer representative for more information.