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Maize and effluent deliver low cost feed

Sue and Mike Visser (right) with Pioneer Field Officer Stu Tyer inspect their recently harvested maize silage.

Maize and effluent deliver low cost feed

2009/10 Season

Owners: Haerepo Trust
Sharemilker: Mike and Sue Visser
Farm location: Ngahape

Maize silage grown on effluent paddocks without the need for additional fertiliser has provided Waikato farmers Mike and Sue Visser with low cost supplementary feed with the added benefit of utilising excess soil nutrients.

The Vissers sharemilk on the 290 ha (eff.) Haerepo TrustFarm, which is located at Ngahape, south of Te Awamutu. In the 2008/09 season, their 975 cow split autumn and spring calving Friesian herd produced 319,000 kgMS (1,100kgMS/ha and 327kgMS/cow).

Last season, the Vissers grew 24 ha of Pioneer® brand 34B23 maize silage on their effluent paddocks and bought in a further 16 ha from a local contract grower. Homegrown crops yielded more than 26 tDM/ha and, because they didn’t require any additional fertiliser, cost just 11 c/kgDM in the stack.

This season, they have planted a total of 25 ha on-farm which comprises of an early crop of Pioneer® brand 38H20 and a main crop of Pioneer® brand 34B23. They have also contracted 7 ha of bought-in maize silage. On-farm crops are grown either on the farm’s normal effluent areas or on paddocks which need regrassing. The latter have dry or liquid effluent applied to them as a oneoff application prior to planting.

“Using effluent to grow our maize silage crops makes good sense,” says Mike. “It allows us to get huge maize silage yields and, because we are not applying additional nutrients, we can reduce the level of nitrogen and potassium in the soil.”