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Stackyard News Mar 06

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    Latest Ultra Early Variety Extends Maize Growing Options

A new Ultra Early forage maize variety now available in the UK will offer farmers in both favourable and less favourable areas new options when growing the crop, says British Seed Houses.

Revolver, bred by Saaten Union and marketed in the UK by British Seed Houses, has achieved harvest dry matter results in trials at least comparable with current Maturity Class 11 varieties, but shows significantly higher overall yield potential.

On the strength of its performance in trials, British Seed Houses has released Revolver in advance of an official NIAB listing, making it available for the 2006 drilling season.

"Revolver has consistently produced a dry matter yield of just over 15t/ha in trials and starch yields some 109% higher than the control varieties," comments Paul Billings of British Seed Houses. "Growers can achieve dry matter yields on a par with many Maturity Class 8 varieties, even though they are harvesting up to three weeks earlier. With this kind of performance, Revolver will raise the bar in the Ultra Early category and as such create a new set of opportunities for UK farmers."

Mr Billings says that interest in Ultra Early varieties - which already includes Maturity Class 11 varieties Scimitar and Camelot - comes from farmers right across the maize growing regions of the country, and not only in the marginal areas.

"Demand for varieties like Revolver is coming from the north of England and Scotland, but also from the mainstream areas that would normally grow later varieties," he says. "This interest in the favourable areas is partly being driven by the requirement for earlier harvests - to meet cross compliance regulations - but is also due to farmers wanting to maximise use of land, or in some cases have their maize silage available for feeding earlier in the autumn.

"With the shorter growing season that the Ultra Early varieties require, there are more opportunities for dual cropping, with maize either following a spring grass crop, or being followed by one - or both in some cases. Such approaches significantly increase forage dry matter production per hectare, and need not be to the detriment of maize quality.

"On farms where grazing is traditionally falling away in September, earlier harvesting of forage maize can bridge an otherwise costly feeding gap, particularly if there are seasonality bonuses on the milk price at this time."

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