Agroscope, Institute for Plant Production Sciences IPS, 1260 Nyon, Switzerland

The influence of weather conditions on growth, maturation and nutritive value of silage maize

For 20 consecutive years, the maize cultivar LG 11 has been serving as reference variety at the Federal Research Station for Animal Production (RAP). The collected data and observations provided an appropriate basis to investigate the influence of weather conditions on growth and development of this variety.<br>The Temperature sum (basis 6°C) for the time interval sowing to silking proved to be very constant, the coefficient of variation attaining 4.8 %. The heat sum is also well suited to elucidate the evolution of maize maturation. Our observations confirm the close relationship between the cumulated temperatures (heat sum) and the dry matter content of the ear and whole plant, respectively.<br>Growth conditions affect the energy value of silage maize. It is an established fact that unfavourable weather conditions occurring between silking and harvest, such as drought, unusual temperatures and heavy frost, result in a decrease in the digestibility of organic matter dOM). According to our data, yearly differences in the dOM of the whole plant reach several unity points. The effect of the underlying weather stress on the ear is minor compared to the impaired digestibility of vegetative plant parts (stem and leaves).

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