The 2019 British Society of Plant Breeder’s (BSPB) 2019 Forage Maize Descriptive Lists (DL) contain seven new first-choice varieties, along with one new second-choice variety.

The 2019 Lists aim to give farmers and heir agronomists a range of varieties to choose from, based on parameters such as dry matter yield, starch and digestibility, along with favourable or less favourable growing conditions within the suitable maturity range for the farm location.

KWS varieties Cito KWS and Avitus KWS; LG31218 and Pinnacle from Limagrain; Cranberri CS from Caussade Semences; AIC’s Expedia and Madonias from MAS have been added to the Favourable Sites DL. Of these, Cito KWS, Avitus KWS, Madonias and Pinnacle were also added as first choice varieties to the Less Favourable DL, which is aimed at “marginal” growing conditions.

Ellie Sweetman, forage crop specialist at NIAB, highlights the range of maturity options covered by the new varieties. She says: “Cito KWS is the earliest maturing of the new first choice DL additions, with a 37.4% dry matter content at harvest and both the highest metabolisable energy (ME) and highest starch on the list at 11.82 MJ/kg DM and 37.6% respectively. Cranberri CS is the latest maturing at 29.5%, whilst achieving a very good dry matter yield of 18.3 t/ha and good cell wall digestibility at 58.5%.”

LG31218, which is top of the List for dry matter yield, is a later maturing variety for favourable sites. It combines excellent yield potential, at 18.7 t DM/ha with a highly digestible cell wall score of 59.6%. Avitus KWS is a good all-rounder with excellent yields (18.5 t DM/ha) for its maturity (35.5% DM), and produces good ME at harvest (11.63 MJ/kg DM). It has very good standing power scores.

The 2019 Forage Maize for Anaerobic Digestion Descriptive List is unchanged from 2018 – the BSPB plans to update this List for 2020. All varieties have been nominated by the plant breeders and are suitable for biogas producers growing and using the crop as a feedstock.

The BSPB 2019 Forage Maize and Forage Maize for AD Descriptive Lists are available to download from the BSPB and NIAB websites.