BLOG: Hubbards Seeds Maize Trials, By Barnaby Patchett

BLOG: Hubbards Seeds Maize Trials, By Barnaby Patchett
Posted: 29 Nov
Blog: By Barnaby Patchett, Business & Product Manager, Hubbards Seeds

In what proved to be a very challenging growing season, the Hubbards Seeds maize trials, which took place in Herefordshire, produced some excellent and interesting results.

Our 3-acre trial site had previously been cropped with winter wheat and stubble turnips and the drilling date for the maize trial varieties was 4th May 2018. 

During the trials, the crops were treated with a variety of fertiliser applications including: digestate, farmyard manure, and both standard and liquid fertiliser.

Despite the drought, which affected the site several times during the trials period, cob formation proved to be very good and we would expect impressive starch and ME ratings (a full quality analysis will be available soon). The lack of moisture did cause some varieties to grow shorter than would normally be expected, though no lodging was seen in any part of the trial field.

In terms of yield performance, three varieties stood out with Bonnie, Legolas and Cathy all exceeding 20 tonnes fresh yield per acre.  Harvested on 5th September, Bonnie and Remington proved their earliness, delivering dry matters 35.5% and 34.8% respectively,

The whole trial field (which included the trial area and a commercial crop of Cathy maize) yielded around 20.2 tonnes per acre.

Our Herefordshire maize trials once again proved to be a success showing some varieties to be especially good performers.  For farmers looking for varieties that will deliver top yields, Cathy, Legolas and Bonnie are natural choices. Growers aiming for an earlier harvest as well as good yields, will find Remington an excellent choice with the best score for cob ripeness.

As well as studying current trials, previous trial data is very valuable in enabling us to identify consistent performers that are suitable for UK demands. This testing year has provided with us a good opportunity to further build up our knowledge of key maize varieties to help maintain our drive to meet our customers’ expectations.

I think it is also worth reminding maize growers about the expected future ban on Mesurol-treated seed and its implication for farmer supplies.  It is likely Mesurol will be withdrawn for 2020 sowings and, understandably, seed breeders do not wish to be left with stocks of Mesurol treated-seed once the main drilling season is over (i.e. after June 2019).

Consequently, seed breeders are producing only 70% of their usual Mesurol-treated seed stock for drilling in 2019.  Throw in the possibility of a hard Brexit in March next year and it seems likely that maize seed could be in short supply and more expensive, or at the very least sell out earlier than usual.  If maize is part of your cropping plan for 2019 and you would prefer to use Mesurol-treated seed, my advice is to get your supply in early.

Hubbards Seeds Trials Results  - Herefordshire 2018