A workshop on the issues and prospects of maize cultivation for EkoNiva-Semena specialists has been held at Zashchitnoye enterprise. It was conducted by the company’s foreign partners, namely Stefan Hemmert, Manager of Maize Sales Department of IG Pflanzenzucht, and Johann Posch, Managing Director of Saatzucht Gleisdorf and Head of Seed Growing Division at RWA.
Lately, the global maize market has seen a significant growth, and the demand is expected to keep rising. Maize is considered to be one of the most profitable cereal crops. Its unique features are high yield potential and versatility. Maize is cultivated mostly for grain which is later used as food, fodder and for industrial purposes. When asked about the rationale behind growing maize, Stefan Hemmert answers without hesitation:
‘What makes this crop stand out from the rest is its high crop yield, ease of cultivation and low labour input’, highlights the representative of IG Pflanzenucht. ‘Maize almost always produces a guaranteed yield, even when soil moisture is sparse.’
Maize is a diverse crop, it is cultivated both for grain and silage. The benefits of using maize silage as cattle feed are self-evident.
‘This is the best forage with high energy density’, continues Stefan Hemmert. ‘Maize production is distinguished by easy cultivation and a high level of process automation – all the way from harvesting to filling a feed bunk. The crop has good fermentability, high starch content and uniform kernel ripeness.’
During the workshop the experts from Russia and Germany shared their experience in maize cultivation. In recent years, the employees of Zashchitnoye in Kursk oblast have been working on maize hybridisation vigorously. The experience of getting the innovative Grizzly hybrid is particularly interesting since it is resistant to cold stress factors and highly digestible. The FAO maize ripening index of Grizzly is 240 when grown for grain and 190 if cultivated for silage. According to experts, the figures stand up to competition.
‘Grizzly has fared particularly well in the countries in the north of Europe’, points out Johann Posch. ‘First of all, these are the Baltic countries and Sweden. Experience has shown, Grizzly should be cultivated in the regions with a cold spring.’
In terms of producing seeds of maize hybrids, Zashchitnoye is fully equipped with cutting-edge equipment for field works and post-harvest handling. The agronomists of the enterprise regularly receive useful consulting on the hybridisation technology from RWA specialists. Currently a range of hybrids provided by RWA is undergoing trials on the variety testing plot in Zashchitnoye. The best hybrids will be a base for expanding the innovative hybrid line.
‘We have been cooperating with EkoNiva for six years in breeding soya beans, hulless pumpkins intended for oil production, but most importantly maize’, relates Johann Posch. ‘We are eager to introduce to our partners an exclusive variety bred specially for Russia. The trials are ongoing and they are extremely important for us. Our strategic task is further fruitful cooperation. We want to implement the best Western European genetics here in Russia and, I believe, we are on track to achieving our goal!’
By Tatyana IGNATENKO