Silage maize is used for feeding, energy production and nutrition and related to the European surface one of the most important crops. The main country drivers for the silage production are Germany, France, Russia, Belarus and Poland and the silage belt along the North sea, the central European countries, via Belarus and Ukraine to Russia covers 90 % of the total produced milk on the European continent. The total cattle live stock in EU-28 keeps stability in 2017 close to 89 million animals. The decrease of dairy cows in Russia will be balanced by a stronger increase of high quality beef until 2020. Until 2026 the EU-28 dairy production is expected to increase by 9 % (= 40 million tons).
Listen to the farmers needs
As an innovative breeder EURALIS reinvests 13 % of its turnover in the research every year. This figure clearly illustrates the focus on innovation. For EURALIS, it is obvious that the market understanding must be the basis of the innovation. To supply the best products, EURALIS is taken into account the needs of the customers to give clear answers to their questions.
For EURALIS the breeding objectives in silage maize are yield performance and stability, quality and agronomical tolerances like lodging or disease tolerances like Helminthosporium.
Digestible yield as selection criteria
The breeding process for high quality silage maize is complex. The improvement of the feeding quality includes the two factors starch content and stover digestibility. At the end, the breeding improvement has to be derived from both, starch content and stover digestibility. So, for silage quality, the selection criteria in the EURALIS breeding program was defined by stable digestible yield. And EURALIS made a big genetic improvement by selecting on digestible yield.
Five steps to the success
With the farmer needs as the starting position EURALIS is searching for hybrids with a stable, digestible yield. By introducing new genetic background, the used genetic material brings new variety and increases the genetic diversity. EURALIS identifies new heterosis effects by screening and newly combining the genetic sources with molecular marking, where EURALIS has more than 30 years experiences. With the help of Molecular Marking EURALIS selects on digestible yield and tests the crossings on performance in a large europeanwide network to choose the best candidates for application of new hybrids. In the end EURALIS is able to characterize all new hybrids on their yield and quality profile by the new tool EURALIS Profiling System to find the best varieties for the farmers´ needs.
Proof of success
Silage maize varieties like ES Metronom, ES Amulet and ES Watson are showing the high quality of the genetic background all over Europe and are the key drivers of the market.