Yield quality and development of forage maize zea mays as influenced by dates of planting and harvesting

Fairey, N.A.

Canadian Journal of Plant Science 63(1): 157-168


ISSN/ISBN: 0008-4220
Accession: 006924935

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The effects of dates of planting and harvesting on yield, quality and development of forage maize were investigated in a 3-yr study. Treatments studied were all possible combinations of 5 planting dates, spaced at 2-wk intervals from late April to mid-June and 3 harvest dates (mid-Sept., early and mid-Oct.). Between early May and mid-June, each 1-day delay in seeding resulted, on average, in a 1% reduction in whole-plant digestible dry matter yield. In vitro dry matter digestibility was not significantly affected by date of harvesting but was reduced progressively from 66-63% as the date of planting was delayed. Although grain content varied from 0-50% of whole-plant dry matter, it had little effect on the in vitro digestiblity of forage maize, which only ranged from 62-68%, when whole-plant dry matter contents were acceptable for direct insiling. During the grain-filling period (450-1600 corn heat units after mid-silking), whole-plant dry matter [DM] content (%) was linearly related to accumulated corn heat units (r2 = 0.83); each 1% increase in DM content requiring an input of 40 corn heat units. Using information on the date of mid-silking and daily air temperature records (long-term or current), it is possible to predict the date (average or actual) when whole-plant DM content reaches any desired magnitude for harvesting.