How to increase forage maize energy content

Balanced crop nutrition will ensure increased energy content of maize silage. It will also help to boost the quality of the ensiled leaf material in forage crops.

Nitrogen fuels growth and crop yield

Nitrogen rates need to be high enough to maximize plant growth and also ensure good protein assimilation in both grain and silage crops. However, too much nitrogen can encourage excessive leaf growth, increasing the proportion of leaf and stem to grain. As a result, the starch content of maize silage can be reduced and maize yields can also suffer.

Effect of nitrogen rate on forage maize yield

Phosphate boosts grain development and accelerates maturity

Uptake of phosphorus from the soil continues after the grains begin to develop and at maturity 70% of the phosphorus in the plant is in the grain. Here it has a direct effect on maize grain protein. At later stages of growth, phosphorus boosts the development of grain and accelerates crop maturity.

Effect of phosphorus on forage maize quality

Potassium deficiency reduces quality

Potassium nutrition increases crude protein content of forage maize. 

Effect of potassium on forage maize quality

Micronutrients affect starch content


Zinc is an essential component of enzymes involved in carbohydrate metabolism and protein production. Therefore, a low zinc supply reduces growth and starch content of maize.


There is evidence that boron increases the yield and starch content of forage maize. Foliar applications made at the V5 or V6 stage, when there is significant leaf cover, will improve yields in deficient crops.

Effect of foliar boron on forage maize yield