With the Irish maize acreage likely to increase, there are many options available to growers when it comes to selecting varieties on maturity, dry matter yield and starch content.

Last year, some 11,200ha of maize were planted in Ireland – down from 24,700ha in 2009. If the area planted is ever to move back to 2009 levels, farmers must be confident that varieties will yield well and perform under harsh weather conditions.

While weather can play an important part in maize yield, site location is crucially important; where maize is grown on an unsuitable cold or wet site, it will not perform to its potential.

Variety selection needs to match this site. An early, medium or late variety should be planted to suit site and sowing date. This will result in higher dry matter content at harvest.

Options available:

Spyci was the newest variety launched by Goldcrop at its open day last week. The variety is not yet on the Department of Agriculture’s recommended list. However, it has gone under two years of trials and would slot into third place on the list for dry matter yield and starch content. Spyci is a medium-maturing variety.

LG30211 is a very consistent variety from DLF Seeds & Science. The medium-maturing variety is used as a control on the recommended list. It can withstand a cold, unsuitable year and still deliver yield and quality.

Award remains a standard in maize production and can perform well on moderate sites. It has a similar dry matter yield to LG30211 and the old reliable Justina, which was first listed in 2005.

SY Feeditop was added to the department’s recommended list in 2017. The early-medium maturity variety rates second highest for starch content to Ambition.

Ambition continues to be a favorite for its early maturity and high starch content. The early maturity is suited to where maize is grown in the open and under cover. Ambition can often be harvested early on good sites.

Autens can be grown in the open. The variety, which will be available in 2018, has a starch yield similar to Severus, which can also be grown in the open. However, Autens matures slightly earlier than Severus.