THE number of forage maize able survive Scotland’s northerly climate have been improving in recent years with another four new generation hybrids launched by plant breeder, KWS for this year’s planting.

The new hybrid forage and energy varieties include KWS Calvini, an early forage variety with an FAO of 160-170. It has been selected for its very high starch and ME value,

making it ideal for boosting dairy cow ration performance. Calvini had the top dry matter yield in its class across all NIAB trials, producing 18.8 tonnes per ha. It also boasts great early vigour, with a high kernel content and excellent stability of ripening, according to KWS.

Also new is the dual-purpose Keops, which has an FAO of 210/220 and falls into the early/maincrop category. Suitable for either forage or energy uses, it has superb early vigour and an extremely high yield potential of 50-55 freshweight tonnes/ha. Its maincrop maturity

position makes it ideal for spreading harvest window and the high grain to stover ratio provides stable ripening in cooler seasons, although it is generally recommended for warmer areas of the country.

Mid-season maturity variety, Amaveritas, FAO 240, had the distinction of being No 1 for dry matter yield for two consecutive years across the whole of the KWS Northern European trials network. It produces top yields for biogas, with figures of 55-60 tonnes/ha being

recorded. Considered ideal for spreading harvest or drilling window on lighter land, it surpasses former generation hybrids, including Ronaldinio, Barros and Carolinio. Amaveritas also offers exceptional early vigour.

The fourth new variety is Kilomeris, which is intended exclusively for biogas, offering a high tonnage potential on light soils, where yields have been found to exceed its competitors,

particularly in drought-prone areas. Other features include very good early vigour and great stay-green qualities. Kilomeris, which is suitable for favourable sites, has an FAO of 260/270; this makes it KWS’ latest maturity hybrid in the UK market.

Commenting on the new varieties, KWS maize sales manager, John Morgan said: “Maize breeding continues to move forward and newer varieties offer significant advantages in terms of early maturity, yield and feed value. Holding on to older varieties for too long will undoubtedly mean losing out on potential forage improvements.”