Corn growers searching for a true all-rounder, suitable for grain or silage production, should get their hands on a variety called HM-114 this summer.
Hitting a maturity sweet spot, the Heritage Seeds variety offers a combination of good standability, sowing flexibility and high silage quality, according to Landmark Echuca agronomist and manager Brad Caldwell.
Mr Caldwell’s experience with the variety in the past two seasons has been positive, and has shown that when managed to capture its potential, HM-114 has high yields coupled with high quality.
Rochester’s Tom Acocks is one of Mr Caldwell’s clients, who last summer tried the corn variety with great results.
Mr Acocks and his wife Emma milk 900 cows on their 1300ha farm and he grew 60ha of HM-114, 50 of which was grown with overhead sprinkler irrigation and 10 was flood irrigated.
‘‘The flood irrigated paddock yielded 21tonnes of dry matter per hectare with about 35 per cent starch content,’’ Mr Acocks said.
‘‘The 50ha overhead irrigation paddock yielded an average of 24.5 dry matter tonnes per hectare, and just on 40 per cent starch.
‘‘It was a brilliant result and the best silage we’ve made in a long time.
‘‘There may be some varieties out there that will yield a bit better, but the amount of starch in the feed test was really pleasing to see.
‘‘We’re happy to forgo a bit of yield if we get a better starch content.’’
Mr Caldwell said high yielding corn crops needed close attention to nutrition to feed their potential.
‘‘Key things to consider with HM-114 is that with its maturity window, growers need to plant it on time, so in this area they should be looking at an early November sowing,’’ he said.
‘‘The nutrition has to be right and growers need to manage irrigation, in particular late in the season ... so it doesn’t suffer a yield penalty.
‘‘I’d recommend growers start with soil testing. If there is any need for soil amelioration like gypsum or lime, they should do that up front.
‘‘It’s common to start with a composted manure if it’s readily available, before sowing the seed with around 250kg/ha of DAP (phosphate fertiliser).
‘‘Depending on the system, around 500kg/ha of urea would be added throughout the season, whether that’s deep banded or applied with the irrigation.’’