NEWS: 2013 Forage Maize Descriptive List launched

4 Sep 2012

Thirteen new first choice varieties have been added to the 2013 Forage Maize Descriptive List (DL) launched by BSPB and NIAB at the Livestock 2012 Event.

The varieties include Activate, Ambition, Arcade and Yukon from Limagrain; Kroft and Kromwell from Huntseeds; Ascender and Konsensus from KWS; RAGT’s Twixxi and Chavoxx; Surezzo from Saaten Union and Grainseed’s Dualto and Marco. All thirteen varieties feature on the Favourable DL, with twelve of these also added to the Less Favourable DL aimed at ‘marginal’ growing conditions.

This year has seen some difficult growing conditions for maize production, but NIAB’s forage crop specialist Dr Gareth Burns emphasises the importance of using the Descriptive List when choosing varieties rather than reacting to a poor performance in a single year.Thirteen new varieties have been added to the 2013 Forage Maize DL

“The particularly cold and wet weather in April either slowed or damaged establishment, and in many cases delayed sowing until May. This will delay harvest by two or three weeks and yields will likely be down on previous years.

“However, the List contains the essential information growers require to select varieties that match their individual requirements, with a dataset covering five years of trials. Maize yields should be considered over several harvests to provide a picture of a variety’s true value,” says Dr Burns.

Recent changes to the Forage Maize Descriptive List aimed at simplifying the varietal choice process and improving the quality and quantity of the crop’s technical data have received a positive response from maize growers. Feedback indicates that farmers are benefiting from inclusion of cell wall digestibility (CWD) onto the List last year, following a reduction in the number of sub-lists and a more vigorous selection process in 2010.

“Improvements in the cell wall digestibility of the maize plant can confer significant increases in animal intake. Including CWD scores on the List supplements the current information on yield, starch, metabolisable energy and provides a better indication of the true animal performance offered by each variety,” explains Dr Burns.

“The values typically range from 50-60% with varieties scoring in the late 50s considered more digestible; they will be broken down faster in the rumen, ultimately increasing potential dry matter intakes.”

New varieties on the List Dualto (60.6%) and Chavoxx (60.1%) display particularly high CWD, with a 3% and 2.5% improvement over controls for favourable sites. For less favourable locations Twixxi shows the highest CWD score of 59.2%, 3% higher than the control varieties, followed by Chavoxx (57.0%).

“For growers in favourable areas looking for an early harvest Ambition has a high dry matter yield (105% of controls). Surezzo fits later harvest dates with trial yields in excess of 19 t DM/ha (108% of controls) on the Favourable List and at least 18 t DM/ha (108% of controls) on the Less Favourable List. And finally growers should also consider Activate which combines high dry matter yields with excellent quality characteristics,” advises Dr Burns.


Notes to editors

  • BSPB is the representative organisation for plant breeders in the UK. The BSPB Forage Maize Crop Group organises independent Descriptive List testing for forage maize varieties.
  • Forage maize varieties are tested independently for three years (six locations in Year 1 and 2 and nine locations in Year 3) before addition to the Descriptive List. The trial work is carried out by NIAB TAG and plant breeders under contract to the BSPB.
  • rials are grown to standard protocols which are reviewed annually to ensure that they are relevant to the industry. All trials are independently inspected to ensure compliance with protocol and high standards of trialling and the data are independently verified and analysed by NIAB.

2013 Forage Maize Descriptive List

Download the 2013 Forage Maize Descriptive List First Choice Varieties for Favourable Sites

Download the 2013 Forage Maize Descriptive List Second Choice Varieties for Favourable Sites

Download the 2013 Forage Maize Descriptive List First Choice Varieties for Less Favourable Sites

Download the 2013 Forage Maize Descriptive List Second Choice Varieties for Less Favourable Sites

The 2013 Forage Maize Descriptive List will also be available on the Herbage Varieties Guide website (

Further information from:

Robert Jackson, Variety Trials Co-ordinator, BSPB
T: 01353 653202
M: 07917 046705
E: robert.jackson [at]

Gareth Burns, Forage Crop Specialist, NIAB TAG
T: 01223 342277
M: 07808 249653
E: gareth.burns [at]

Issued by:

Ros Lloyd, Communications Manager, NIAB
T: 01223 342313
M: 07711 568164
E: ros.lloyd [at]