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Follow Pioneer guidelines and make your own super silage

This post is also available in: Afrikaans

by De Bruyn Myburgh, agronomist, Pioneer SA

Farmers normally look at the performance of a silage cultivar in the present season before making a decision about the hybrid for planting for the following season. Pioneer has now simplified the decision making process for the farmer by providing reliable yield data, as well as cultivar-quality data, obtained during experimental field trials.

Pioneer, in collaboration with AgSci Unlimited Silage Consultancy, undertook maize cultivar evaluation trials in the previous season (2018 – 2019)

Several important considerations became evident based on results:

• Select well executed trials;

• Do a valid comparison of hybrids;

• Be careful of small yield variations;

• Remember next season will not be the same as the present season; and

• Utilise local research.

The requirements for a good silage cultivar may differ since the purpose for which it is intended may differ. For large scale beef cattle farming silage may form a small component of supplementary feed, where it could mean the difference between profit and loss when it comes to a dairy. Most requirements or expectations are set by farmers, nutritional experts and contractors involved in the utilisation of silage.

There is disagreement, however, regarding what is most important – quantity or the quality of silage. However, a practical rule or aim for good quality silage is the following:

• High yield per hectare;

• High starch yield per DM (dry material); and

• High TDN (total digestible nutrients).

Pioneer has embarked on a totally new research trend regarding silage information. They combined with farmers, contractors and scientists to design a system for obtaining the best results and information and make it available to farmers to help them when deciding on the best methods for making their silage. A representative sample was taken of every cultivar planted in the previous season (2018 – 2019). Sample collection was done in accordance with a protocol provided by AgSci Unlimited Silage Consultancy. The protocol gives directives regarding the timing for harvesting; the method of cutting and drying of the material; how to determine the DM (dry material); measuring parameters during combine harvesting; sample collection; ensilaging and the analysis of fermented samples.

This means that excellent trials have been done over a large area, and will still continue, to obtain correct, accurate comparable results. This enables Pioneer to recommend the correct hybrid to the farmer suitable for his specific environment so that the farmer may plant with confidence.

Selection of hybrids for making silage is one of the most important decisions a farmer has to make every year on his farm; so make sure that you fully consider every aspect. Use the Pioneer data to select the correct hybrid that will best comply with what you aim at attaining on your farm.

Contact Pioneer for more information on 012-683-5721, or send an email message to info.rsa@pioneer.com .

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