New Zealand Research Programme

Pioneer® brand seed's maize hybrid research programme in New Zealand is designed to ensure growers have access to the very latest and best performing hybrids identified from Pioneer's global breeding effort. Key steps of this programme are summarised below.

New Zealand Maize Product & Research Manager Barry McCarter works with Pioneer maize breeders around the world to identify the best experimental Pioneer® brand maize hybrids to include in the New Zealand testing programme.

The research planning team work in conjunction with Pioneer Regional Managers to develop the annual trial plan programme which includes a range of Pioneer® brand commercial and experimental as well as competitor hybrids. Each trial takes into consideration every individual trial co-operator’s unique growing environment and their cropping objectives.

Pioneer field technicians plant each on-farm trial according to strict ISO 9001:2008 protocols. IMPACTTM (Intensively Managed Product Advancement, Characterisation and Training) trials test up to 100 products in a single location. These trials are planted using pneumatic 4-row research plot planters using GPS guidance which deliver increased accuracy and precision. Local contractors and growers work with the Pioneer field team to plant on-farm PAT (Product Advancement) trials.

Every trial is monitored through the growing season. IMPACTTM trials are managed and monitored more intensively by the Pioneer research team. Each hybrid is evaluated for a range of agronomic traits including percentage emergence, early growth, disease resistance, lodging, grain quality and many more.

IMPACTTM trials are harvested using a specialised research combine which collects yield, moisture and test weight data. PAT trials are combine harvested by local contractors and growers and hybrid yield is measured using a calibrated Pioneer weigh wagon.

Agronomy Research Manager, Dr Rowland Tsimba analyses, interprets and reports on data gathered from Pioneer’s New Zealand research programme. Statistical analysis of the data ensures that the reported yield differences are due to genetic differences and not merely chance.

Every individual trial co-operator receives a copy of their results and the consolidated data is included in the Maize for Grain Hybrid Positioning and Performance Information book. This information assists local Pioneer Area Managers, in conjunction with merchant representatives and contractors, to help growers plant the right product in the right paddock.

The highest performing experimental Pioneer® brand maize hybrids are identified in the IMPACTTM trials, and only the best new candidate hybrids are advanced to the PAT trial programme. Both extensive observation and performance data collected over several seasons is used to support the decision to commercially release new, higher performing hybrids to growers.