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Maize grain diversifies sheep and beef farm income

Maize grain diversifies sheep and beef farm income

2012/13 Season

Owners: Donald & Craig Stobie
Farm location: Gordonton, Waikato

Maize grain is a new addition to Waikato farmers Donald and Craig Stobie’s cropping and beef and lamb finishing operation. The brothers, along with their families and parents Duncan and Lorraine, farm 440 ha of peat country near Gordonton.

Duncan saw increasing dairy farmer demand for maize silage as an opportunity to increase farm income while at the same time renewing and contouring run-out peat paddocks. He planted their first silage crop in the spring of 1994 and the farm has been contract growing maize silage ever since.

In the 2012/13 season the 100 ha of Pioneer® brand 33G26 and 33M54 met the farm’s yield target of 25 tDM/ha. After silage harvest, the area was planted in permanent pasture which will be used to finish up to 3,000 lambs.

Grain was introduced into the farm system for the first time in the 2012/13 growing season and the Stobies are happy with the results. Their 60 ha of Pioneer® brand hybrids including P0021 and P0891 produced an average yield of 13.5 t/ha dry. “Maize grain has allowed us to further diversify our income”, says Donald.

“We know we can get good maize crops and then establish new, higher performing pastures which allow us to maximise livestock weight gains.”

Donald believes the farm’s high maize yields result from “doing the basics right.” Paddocks are soil tested to determine fertiliser inputs, drainage and contour work is carried out where necessary and seed is planted into a well prepared weed-free seed bed in mid-October.

“We are looking for maize hybrids that will give us the most silage or grain yield and so we always plant Pioneer”, says Donald.

“Pioneer hybrids deliver consistent results season after season and the in-field support from our local Pioneer representative is excellent.”