The (early maturing) maize hybrid, Anjou 210, was sown on 1 May (1975) and 50000 (LD) and 150000 (HD) plants/ha established. Leaf, stem, ear and husk components of the shoots, and whole shoots were separately examined for changes in dry weight, soluble sugars, starch, hemicellulose and cellulose at regular intervals from 104 to 154 days after planting together with whole shoots after ensiling.
Throughout the sampling period whole shoot and ear dry weights increased steadily whereas those of leaf and stem decreased in plants from both treatments.
Total soluble sugar contents for plants grown at LD were at a maximum 104 days after planting compared with 125 days after planting for the HD crop. Immediately prior to ensiling whole shoot soluble sugar content was 74 and 93 g/kg D.M. for LD and HD treatments respectively.
Small amounts of starch (g/kg D.M.) were found in stems (10–25), husks (40–80) and leaves (17–35) of plants grown at both densities. The starch content of the ear increased from 57 to 390 g/kg D.M. and 168 to 376 g/kg D.M. in plants grown at LD and HD respectively.
For plants from both treatments hemicellulose contents of husks, leaves and whole shoots increased with age whereas those of stems decreased. Cellulose contents did not vary greatly over the growing season.
On ensiling plants from both densities, total soluble sugars had virtually disappeared after only 3 days. Apparent losses (approximately 0·3 g/g), over a longer period of time, were observed in hemicellulose sugars and starch. Apparent increases were observed in cellulose contents of approximately 0·15 g/g.