Excellent article on  by Richard Halleron on October 3 2023 re the future of Maize in Ireland. 

Well worth a read ⬇️⬇️⬇️

Loader packing Maize

Maize Silage – is the ultimate forage for milk production in Dairy Cows and for finishing Beef Cattle.  It combines the two key components of health and performance because of its very high energy levels combined with its excellent digestability and high DM characteristics.

Maize is an ideal complement to Grass silage and is even better again with early spring grazed grass. Nutritional short falls in grass and grass silage are balanced and complemented with Maize in the diet and vice versa.

In terms of the cost of production of maize silage, Teagasc figures show clearly now that maize is cheaper per tonne of DM to produce than first cut silage, and significantly cheaper than 2nd and subsequent cuts.

Maize has serious capacity to utilise slurry thereby reducing the cost of chemical fertilisers without the risk of contaminating maize forage like sometimes can happen when slurry is applied on to grass for grazing or grass for silage.

With the range of maize seed variety types available to us today, and the support of our key supplier – Pioneer, the worlds major Maize seed breeder, we can help many more farmers utilise this superior forage. Matching variety to customer requirement and site capacity is a skill learned only by years of experience with the crop.

Growing maize under degradable plastic, while not necessary in every situation is certainly a big insurance against the one year in 10 or 12 years when we can get very poor weather over the summer months. Degradable plastic cover can also make an exposed or challenging site for Maize into a very good site for Maize. Crops grown under plastic will always produce good results regardless of the weather.

Consistently higher maize yields & quality under plastic mean that maize grown under plastic is actually cheaper per tonne of DM compared to maize grown in the open!

Again we have a range of maize seed varieties to suit customers requirements and the various fields and sites where maize is grown. Coupled with that we have a team of very  experienced field crop specialists who have the interest, dedication and know-how to help our customers maximise results with your maize crops.

Start with booking your free soil sampling and lab test to see where your soil is in terms of Ph, NPK and some important trace elements. We have found serious savings for farmers on fertiliser costs from knowing where the soil nutrition level is. Once we return with results, then a proper nutrition / agronomy plan can be put in place to maximise the crop outcome in terms of yield and quality.

Remember along with saving money, proper Lime use is now shown as a major answer for farmers in environment improvement / protection and reduction in carbon emissions in Ireland.

When we combine good agronomy advise and good practice coupled with environmental consideration and improvement, we all win!

For; Southern Fuel & Farm Supplies Ltd

Maurice Smiddy

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Diagnosing Emergence Issues

See below a great article re diagnosing emergence issues, written by Gary Brinkman, CCA, CPAg, Pioneer Field Agronomist.

Click on photos to enlarge, for more details.  

To request a call back,  click on the link below stating your location and your local area rep will ring you. 

Infographic on maize
Maize cob
10 good reasons to think about Maize Silage;
  1. Top quality, high starch energy forage that cows and cattle love to eat, and where top animal performance (Milk or Beef) is demanded.
  2.  Cheaper to produce that first cut grass silage, or first and second cut grass silage combined or even a 3 three cut grass silage system combined.
  3. Cows or cattle offered Maize silage along with grass silage or grazed grass will have  higher dry matter intakes than the same animals on a single forage / grazed grass diet.
  4. Each acre can bring in over 3 tonne of maize meal (fine meal) into the silage pit in every acre harvested. 
  5. In the diet of spring calving cows can significantly help fill the short fall in the energy gap these cows suffer in the spring when grazed grass can be so variable even on a daily basis.
  6. Is a consistent and reliable high quality forage when grown on suitable land and when grown under plastic always achieves yields to more than cover its cost.
  7. Fits in easily as an additional forage on any farms where grass silage is utilised, the same silos, feed out system and handling equipment is used.  (No washing & chopping or preparing)
  8. 12 acres of Maize (grown under plastic) will supply the same quantity of forage as 20 acres of grass silage (2 cut system.)  It will have the additional benefit of bringing over 36 to of Maize Meal / acre into the pit.
  9. When renting / leasing suitable land for forage production,  maize silage will give the best return on this investment.
  10. Crop production can efficiently utilise large quantities of cattle or pig slurry thereby further and significantly reducing the cost of bagged fertiliser on this crop.

Forage Maize is a simple crop to grow provided  the basics are got right. Much simpler that wheat, barley or beet, potatoes etc. The right field, with a good soil at the correct soil Ph and given the appropriate crop inputs with the right levels of slurry / fertiliser will always give a more than cost effective return.  While Maize is a high input – high output crop, the fact is,  it is one of the cheapest quality forages available to farmers today.  It’s the ideal crop for the busy livestock farmer particularly the Dairyman.  Without doubt it’s the most ideal and cost effective forage when grown on leased or rented land.  

Almost everything about the success, happens at the beginning of the crop. Once things are got right then, the preparation and particularly on sowing day itself.  95% of crops will need little attention again until harvest time. Where secondary attention is required it is more often than not to deal with a difficult weed issue or a trace element deficiency which can generally be corrected immediately once spotted on time and something that from there on is a known and may be possible to deal with before sowing maize again in the following year. Like with most very valuable crops, solid and sound technical support and advice along with a regular crop monitoring service over the growing season is very important, it’s a necessity, and almost critical to ensure that in the 5 % or so of crops that need secondary attention, that they get it and get it on time.  

The team at Southern Fuel & Farm Supplies Ltd are among the best in Ireland when it comes to expertise with Forage Maize.  Maurice Smiddy Managing Director at Southern Fuel and Farm Supplies is involved with the maize Crop and growers since the very start of its life in Ireland from 1988 onwards. He and his team of Con McCarthy,  Mark Hosford and John Roche in Cork have vast experience when it comes to this crop.

The long term association with Pioneer Du-Pont one of the world’s oldest and most respected Maize Plant Breeding companies gives us the strength and dept of knowledge to deal with anything the Maize Crop can throw at us. 

We will not be found wanting when it comes to the most competitive prices for our customers for all crop inputs including Seed, Degradable  Plastic, and Crop Chemicals for the 2020 season.  Of course the real value for our customers is in the continuous help and advice and season long field crop monitoring service we provide. Which plays a huge part in the success our customers achieve in terms of Yield, Quality and Animal Performance which is really what all customers want from us and from their Maize Silage.

Maize infographic
Cost benefits of Maize
Why grow maize ?

High forage yield in a single cut. ( 60 ton / ha )

High Dry Matter, high starch forage ( 30% plus )

✅ Extremely cost effective ( Teagasc cost and returns 2017 The cost per tonne dry matter utilised for maize is approximately €107  versus first cut grass silage at €130/tonne DM utilised ) Teagasc cost & Returns

✅ Slowly degradable starch

✅ High forage intakes

Ideal buffer for spring and autumn grass

✅ Organic Manure / Slurry utilisation

✅ Improved animal performance and health

✅ Consistent forage quality where grown under film

✅ When maize is fed as part of a balanced diet it has the potential to lift milk yield and composition in the dairy herd and increase daily weight gains in beef cattle.

Maize Testimonial Grower: Peter Mc Carthy West Cork.

➡️ Peter is milking 100 Holstein Friesian cows in West Cork.

➡️The cows are spilt calving with 60% in the spring and 40% autumn.

➡️The average yield of the herd is 1,750 gallons (7,955 litres)

➡️ Peter started growing Maize 3 years ago under Plastic, for the previous 6 years Peter grew whole crop wheat for the cows

➡️ Peter finds that with Maize he is getting more value out of an acre of ground and it is as good as wheat for keeping protein and yield up.

➡️ Peter applies slurry to his Maize ground at approx 7000 gallons/ac reducing bagged fertiliser use.

➡️ On pit management- Peter finds it is important to have a long narrow pit that is rolled well when filling. Peter also uses an additive to prevent secondary heating. e.g. Pioneer 11A44

➡️ Peter grew 19 acres of Maize in 2011 and had a great yield of 23-25t/ac. This Peter attributes to a good site and the use of plastic.

➡️  Milk solids have improved since the cows began eating Maize Silage.

➡️ Peter finishes between 40 & 50 beef cattle and finds the Maize very good for finishing his cattle.

“I am very happy with maize since I started growing it and I will continue to grow it into the future”

Long Term Customer: John Dunne Co. Cork.

➡️ John milks a high yielding 100 cow dairy herd and finishes the beef progeny.

➡️ He uses a mainly grass based system but finds Maize an integral part of the diet for both his cows and beef cattle.

➡️ He has been growing Maize successfully for many years, but for the last two years he has changed to growing Maize under plastic with excellent results.

➡️ John’s 2011 results came back with an impressive Starch level of 34.5%,Dry Matter of 28.2% and Protein of 7.3% from his 24-28 Tonne crop of Benicia under plastic. (independently tested)

➡️ John comments “Plastic acts as an insurance policy to achieve quality Maize and I wouldn’t grow Maize without plastic any more”.

➡️ With high yielding cows (1400-1500 gallons) and an average Milk Protein of 3.5% and Butter Fat of 4.2%, John finds buffer feeding maize after calving in spring drives yield and maintains high solids.

➡️ Maize is the perfect partner to spring grass”, John comments

➡️ Finishing cattle are also fed Maize in their diet. John finds the high quality Maize gives superb daily live weight gains and an increased kill out %.

➡️ As part of growing Maize with Southern Fuel and Farm Supplies, we take soil analysis. This determines the pH and nutrient level of the soil. From this we calculate what nutrients are needed to grow the Maize crop. We have done this on John’s farm over the years. John use on farm slurry/ manure to feed the crop, thus reducing the need for expensive bag fertilizer which John agrees is a big saving on costs. Finally, John says, “I am extremely happy with the quality of Maize under plastic and will be growing it again for the coming year”

Maize silage inoculants

Faster and more efficient fermentation means less dry matter loss and improved stability and digestibility of silage crops.

Using a silage inoculant maximises the feed value of maize silage and helps drives profitability. 


✅ Dramatically reduce heating
✅ Offer a biological solution without the health risk associated with applying acids and acid salts
✅ Reduce yeasts and moulds to just 0.1 % of untreated control silages
✅ Maintain aerobic stability in maize and cereal wholecrop silage for longer than silages treated with 5 litres of proprionic acid.
✅ When to use Pioneer® 11A44: Maize silage 25% – 45% dry matter Crimped maize  <65 % dry matter
✅ Available as a water-soluble product in packaging suitable for use in tank mixes or with the Pioneer
✅ -Pro® systems for easy and convenient application.

Maize inoculant graph
Chart 1: Source: Pioneer
Maize inoculant graph
Chart 2: Source: Pioneer
Maize inoculant graph
Chart 3: Source: Pioneer

✅ Improve fibre digestibility
✅ Enable higher corn silage inclusion rates
✅ Available as a water-soluble product in packaging suitable for use in tank mixes or with the Pioneer
✅ -Pro® systems for easy and convenient application.
✅ 11CFT contains a novel strain of Lactobacillus buchneri which:
✅ Produces specific fibre digesting enzymes as it replicates in silage
✅ Reduces shrink and improves aerobic stability of the silage face during feedout
✅ In addition to fibre-digesting enzyme production,
✅ 11CFT contains a unique silage strain of Lactobacillus plantarum formulated to:
✅ Stimulate “front-end” fermentation efficiency by rapidly dropping pH, helping to retain valuable nutrients (sugar, starch)
✅ Establishes the ideal environment for growth and proliferation of the enzyme producing L. buchneri allowing enzymatic activity to be expressed, “pre-digesting” NDF and making it more available to the rumen microbes
✅ Help lower feed costs by reducing need for bypass protein supplementation
✅ Excellent choice for high production animals fed high levels of corn silage

Maize inoculant graph
Chart 1: Source: University of Florida and the Lethbridge Research Center summarised third party in situ NDFD across four different hybrids.
Maize inoculant
Chart 2: Source: Pioneer Livestock Nutrition Centre, Iowa.

For more information on Maize growing, Please Contact us 

For more agronomy information regarding seed variety, rate, herbicide, fungicide, insecticide and nutrients please contact our Team of experts as these change on an annual basis.

Where to find us.
📍 Eircode📍

Midleton –  P25 A567