Combining early maturity and high yields with exceptional quality Prospect, the new forage maize variety from LG Seeds, has raised the bar on the three critical selection criteria for maize growers looking to boost production from forage.
In its first year on the BSPB/NIAB Descriptive Lists, Prospect is the first choice variety on both the Less Favourable and Favourable lists delivering exceptional performance across all the major attributes.
“Prospect represents the Holy Grail of maize breeding being the first early variety to produce such high feed quality, making it the perfect variety for farmers across the country wanting to maximise the return on investment in maize” comments Tim Richmond, LG Seeds maize manager in the UK and Ireland. “It delivers fantastic agronomy and tremendous yields with the combination of high starch and outstanding cell wall digestibility to make full use of the total energy available in the plant.”
He explains that Cell wall digestibility (CWD) is a measure of the extent to which animals are able to digest plant fibre. The higher the CWD, the better the potential feed value of the plant. The part of the cell walls that give the plant structural strength that prevents it from collapsing is lignin which is indigestible and produced in greater quantities as the plant matures. As lignin content increases, CWD declines.
“As a consequence many very early varieties do not have particularly high CWD values, but with Prospect our breeders have managed to neutralize the impact of increasing lignin as the plant matures, enabling it to maintain exceptionally high CWD.
“It provides the high quality forage farmers require and plenty of it. It produces 13000MJ/ha more than the average variety on the Less Favourable sites list which equates to an additional 2360 litres of milk per hectare from forage, worth around £680 per hectare.
Prospect is an early variety with maturity class 9 (or FAO 160) meaning it is suitable for all maize growing sites. It combines excellent early vigour and good standing power with good eyespot tolerance and fusarium resistance meaning it will deliver in the field. But the difference will really be seen in the clamp and in the feed trough.
It is the top variety on the Less Favourable site list for dry matter yield, cell wall digestibility, starch yield, ME content and ME yield. On Favourable sites it is the highest ranked early variety, topping the list for cell wall digestibility, ME content and ME yield.
“Some later varieties may aspire to match Prospect on quality, but they have limited appeal. In many parts of the country there are simply not enough heat units available to allow these later varieties to reach maturity meaning they will fail to deliver fully on feed quality. With the environmental and agronomic drivers for early varieties, Prospect will allow growers across the country to have their cake and eat it, producing high yields and quality combined with early maturity.”