NEWS: BSPB launches Biogas Maize Descriptive List

4 Jul 2013

A new variety descriptive list has been created for biogas producers growing and using forage maize as a feedstock.

The British Society of Plant Breeders (BSPB) has launched the Biogas Maize Descriptive List for 2014 with 12 varieties listed for favourable sites and five for less favourable sites.

BSPB Forage Maize Panel chairman Brendan Paul said: “The new annual List answers the increasing demand for information on forage maize varieties suitable for biogas feedstock, and recognises that crop production requirements for anaerobic digestion differs to those of the livestock farmer.” 

The area of forage maize grown as feedstock for biogas is estimated to be around 15,500 hectares in 2013, equivalent to 10% of the UK crop. Up to 4.5% of the 2012 crop was used in biogas production.

The varieties listed on the 2014 List have been nominated by the plant breeders and are all suitable for biogas production. The List aims to aid variety selection as producers can check energy output in the form of metabolisable energy (ME) and other traits such as dry matter content and yield, early vigour and standing power.

“Whilst it is not an exclusive list of potentially suitable commercially available varieties, BSPB is simplifying the variety choice process for biogas producers and delivering effective and relevant variety data that producers can understand and trust,” said Mr Paul.


THE BSPB Biogas Maize Descriptive List trials are financed by BSPB and carried out by NIAB TAG. The dataset is divided into two Lists – Favourable and Less Favourable. The Favourable list is for growers who are in good growing locations but for certain reasons such as drilling follow on crops need to find a balance between maturity and yield. The Less Favourable list is for growers whose major concern is growing a crop to reach acceptable maturity by a given date. It is important to identify which list is most suitable for your situation.