Big interest in fodder beet but quality maize has no equal as a forage source
I have referred to the merits of using fodder beet before. And going by the number of calls I received after doing so, the growing and feeding of fodder beet is about to receive a major lift. A lot of farmers are looking at using fodder beet as a direct replacement for forage maize.
But before this option is taken, a number of points need to be considered:
nBeet has a significantly different profile with higher sugar, while maize is high in starch.
nAfter harvest maize requires no further processing, unlike beet.
nThe harvest of maize in a wet autumn is less difficult.
High quality maize silage for finishing cattle has no equal as a forage source. With the correct site and variety selection, yields of up to 50t/ha can be achieved. Typical analysis of good quality maize silage is 28-32pc dry matter (DM), 11.0-11.5 MJ ME/kg DM, 28-32pc starch and 7-9pc crude protein.
As all energy feeds are projected to remain high in price for the foreseeable future, growing a crop that produces forage of this quality and at these yields continues to make a lot of sense. Maize also acts as a very suitable break crop.
Conditions for the 2012 maize crop were really difficult. It should have put an end to the debate over whether maize should be grown under plastic or in the open (without plastic).