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Elsoms widen their maize portfolio with Makayla

New early maturing variety offers high yields and more efficient harvesting says Sam Poulton of CROPCO.

A new high yielding and early maturing maize variety that has successfully come through two years of UK trials will be commercially available to maize growers for the first time, through a partnership between leading independent seed breeder Elsoms Seeds and agricultural merchant CROPCO.

The two companies, who have collaborated successfully before on the marketing and sales of hybrid wheat varieties such as Hyking and Hyguardo, predict a strong future for Makayla based on its excellent agronomic traits and an FAO maturity rating of 180 according to Sam Poulton, Maize Product Manager at CROPCO.

“We currently sell maize herbicides and other inputs to many farmers who grow maize, so we have a strong customer base for quality maize seed already in place. Recent customer feedback also indicates a growing demand for high yielding, earlier maturing varieties that often better fit farm rotations, given they are less likely to delay the establishment of following winter wheat crops due to late harvesting.

“Later maturing varieties can result in uncropped soil and are at a much higher risk of soil erosion. Maize harvests can also be delayed following adverse weather that may lead to unsuitable ground conditions, so early maturing varieties specifically bred for UK conditions, such as Makayla, can hold an advantage.

“Assessing Makayla’s key agronomic qualities, the variety shows good early vigour, excellent eyespot and fusarium resistance, as well as a consistent lodging score. In my opinion it was the standout variety across the three main maize trials at Attleborough, Lackham and Harper Adams last year, and with an ideal feed value for early silage plus an above average m3/t dry matter in a biogas situation it should appeal to both livestock farmers and those growing for biogas production.

“As a company we see a positive future for maize and, from spring 2023, our long-term plan is to work with Elsoms on a new series of agrochemical screening trials, aimed at helping growers and advisers make a more informed choice on maize varieties. This type of information is not currently available to most UK maize growers” confirms Sam.

Elsoms energy and forage crop manager Henrietta Wells endorses Sam’s assessment of Makayla and predicts a promising future for the new variety.

“The variety averaged 58t/ha fresh weight across all three of the official descriptive list trial sites last year. It also recorded an above average percentage control score for dry matter t/ha over the control – a competitor variety that had an FAO maturity of 210. The average score was 109% across the three locations.

“With high yields and fast development this variety also has a very good stay green score that secures the silage harvest date for farmers, and the quality of conservation on the silo. With a growing maize portfolio, we are investing in providing an extensive trialling network to offer valuable information to both merchant customers and farmers and we see additional future benefits for growers in our partnership with CROPCO.

“We have seen huge benefits from increased trial work, and this has inevitably added value of commercial use to our maize lines. With the addition of Makayla, we now have a comprehensive maize portfolio offering a range of FAOs from 180-230 to suit every maize growing situation” concludes Henrietta.