Agronomic Performance of Sugary-Brawn2 Maize: A Potential Additive for High-Protein Silage Production
Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) is low in soluble carbohydrates, which are required for successful silage preservation. Storing alfalfa as silage could reduce quality losses due to weathering, however. Adding grain high in soluble carbohydrates, such as sugary-Brawn2 (su-Bn2) endosperm maize (Zea mays L.), improves silage preservation, and results in higher quality feed. However, certain endosperm mutants, including alleles at the sugary locus, have been shown to reduce grain yields, dry matter production, and possibly photosynthetic rates. Our objective was to determine if su-Bn2 maize hybrids have acceptable yield, ear moisture levels, and stalk and root quality for on-farm grain production in the northern Corn Belt. Twenty su-Bn2 hybrids and two adapted dent hybrids were grown at three locations in Wisconsin in 1986 and 1987. Data were collected on ear yield, ear moisture, heat units to midpollen and midsilk, plant and ear height, and root and stalk lodging. Yield of the su-Bn2 hybrids ranged from 7.26 to 9.41 Mg ha−1, as compared with 7.96 and 9.40 Mg ha−1, for the two checks. Ear moisture of the su-Bn2 hybrids was higher than that of the checks, although a number of su-Bn2 hybrids had acceptable moisture levels. The su-Bn2 hybrids compared favorably with the checks for plant and ear height, and stalk and root lodging. Maize with su-Bn2 endosperm can be grown successfully in the northern Corn Belt for use as an additive in the ensiling of alfalfa. Management practices and economic aspects need to be further investigated.
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