Maize Reflections on 2023 & Lessons for 2024

As we are at the beginning of the new year, I find myself thinking about how last year went and what we have learned from it.

After a very difficult start to the maize drilling season in spring, with a lot of the 2023 maize crops going in late, a wet mid-summer and a very difficult harvesting season, choosing the right maize variety seems more important than ever. 

There are a lot of factors that contribute to having a high yield of maize, and choosing the right variety for the right type of ground is one of the most essential ones. 

It’s easy enough to pick a variety that has early maturity but how that variety gets to mature is crucial for a good harvest, that is why we are looking at choosing varieties with high early vigour, good standing power and leaf senescence.

This is especially useful when we have a delayed drilling season, as varieties with high early vigour will emerge better, getting to pollination earlier, with a higher chance of producing a good, full cob and reaching harvesting maturity faster than varieties from the same maturity group.

One of those varieties is Prospect, with an FAO of 170 and an early vigour of 7.2, standing power of 7.7 and leaf senescence at 7.3, it can be drilled from the main drilling season up until end of May and will still reach harvest maturity before the end of September in the Midlands area. 

Besides being used for forage and AD, Prospect can also be used as a grain variety with an early grain finish and high yield. 

Another interesting variety that has performed very well this last year in our area is the LG31.207, a late maturing variety with a 210 FAO, but despite being from a late maturity group it makes up for it in early vigour of 8.2 with a standing power of 8 and a harvest date at the end of September making it a very strong choice for the forage and especially the AD sector. 

For the next maize growing season, I would suggest picking varieties that will give you an advantage over the extreme weather changes, that have a wider drilling period without affecting the harvesting date, with good early vigour, good standing, and disease tolerance as all these characteristics will contribute immensely to an early harvest with excellent yields.