Does maize consume more water than other grains?
According to a study by the CNRS, 238 litres of water are required to produce 1 kg by dry weight of silage maize (intended to feed livestock), 454 litres for grain maize, 490 litres for wheat and 900 litres for 1 kg by dry weight of soya. Maize is also an air purifier. It produces a lot of oxygen, absorbs carbon dioxide and “traps” carbon in the soil, preventing it from polluting the atmosphere and increasing the greenhouse effect.
During its growth, maize absorbs large quantities of nitrates from the soil. Maize is a key player in “green chemistry”.
Maize starch, a natural, renewable and biodegradable product, replaces the chemical components in many everyday products: medication, paper, plastic, adhesives, paint, construction materials, detergents, etc. Additionally, ethanol, a by-product of maize, is a renewable fuel (unlike oil) used to make “clean” fuel, which is much less polluting compared to traditional petrol.
Why does maize need to be irrigated?
Maize is a summer crop, which means it grows when it rains the least. That is why it needs to be watered. Maize farmers thus resort to irrigation. In France, out of 3 million hectares of grain maize, seeds and feed maize, 750,000 hectares are irrigated, i.e. 25%. This figure has declined continuously over the past 10 years (-130 000 ha).
What are the benefits of growing maize?
Maize is a grain that can be used to generate energy and boasts many important nutritional qualities. Maize grain contains starch, proteins, fat, minerals and vitamins.
Feed maize is the second most popular fodder resource after grass and has become the main fodder crop used to feed dairy cows in winter. It is a natural product trusted by farmers because they know how and where it is produced. When feed maize is stored in good conditions, it is enjoyed by dairy cows and has a high energy yield.
Quality feed for quality products
According to the INRA (French National Institute for Agricultural Research), it is recommended that cows are given feed maize to improve the quality of butter in winter (enhanced vitamin content, colour and texture).
Animals fed with feed maize produce high-quality meat, as has been demonstrated in trials on Blonde d’Aquitaine beef.
Nearly three-quarters of grain maize is consumed by both wild and domesticated animals, mainly poultry and pigs. Maize is directly consumed on farms or sold to livestock feed producers. It is ground and mixed with other raw ingredients such as soya or peas to make feed meal and pellets.
Grain maize has a high nutritional value thanks to its high starch content and germ oil, making it particularly suited to animal feed. Due to its composition, maize boasts many interesting and unique characteristics which make it ideal for raising certified chickens (e.g. Label Rouge) and laying hens. It is also the reference feed for many quality labels, including poultry from the Landes and Bresse regions, Bayonne ham and foie gras.