Maize variety choice can have a significant impact on the success of the crop. So growers must choose a variety with the right earliness of maturity for their location, which will be ready for harvest at the required date, but also consider the feeding quality attributes.
Cell wall digestibility (CWD) is becoming an increasingly important factor for feeding high levels of maize silage in a diet. More than 50% of the total energy in maize is in the vegetative parts of the plant. In varieties with high CWD, more of this energy is available to the cow.
Varieties with high CWD provide a slow release of carbohydrate to the rumen, reducing the risk of acidosis from high starch content. This becomes more important as the proportion of maize in the diet increases above 40%.
Pinnacle is the new maize variety that's set to become a class-leading, first-choice variety on the 2019 BSPB/NIAB list. With a FAO of 190, it leads the very early category and combines early maturity with excellent early vigour for rapid early season growth.
The variety combines a high starch yield of 112% with improved CWD to produce superb quality silage and a DM yield of 103%. The improved CWD of 58.5% maximises the energy yield and feeding performance. Book early to ensure seed availability for the 2018 growing season.
Starch is an important source of energy in maize silage and when broken down in the rumen, can have a significant impact on improving milk yield and glucose potential.
Taking first, and any subsequent, silage cuts earlier in the season has improved silage quality and herd performance on one Dorset-based dairy unit.