The benefits of growing maize under film

Growing maize under film could provide producers with benefits worth more than £200 per hectare (ha) compared to conventional methods. According to Wynnstay dairy specialist Mark Price, the improved nutritional value of maize silage grown under film, outweighs the increased growing costs.

“The total additional fixed and variable costs of growing maize under film amount to approximately £300/ha compared to conventionally grown maize. However, the increased nutritional value, typically 6% more DM and 3% more starch, equates to around £520/ha more than conventionally grown maize,” says Mr Price.

“Once growing costs have been taken into consideration, this delivers a net gain of around £200/ha.” Dr Simon Pope, Wynnstay crop protection manager, says there are also agronomic benefits of growing maize in this way. “When maize is sown under biodegradable and photodegradable film it creates a microclimate, warming the soil and increasing the soil temperature to above 10°C, which is the base temperature required for germination and growth,” he explains.

“The film reduces moisture loss and by warming the soil the availability of nutrients is improved. The result is quick establishment and greater root development and the more favourable growing conditions ultimately go on to provide higher yields of DM and starch in early maturing crops.”


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