Paul Bamforth’s 380 ha farm at Ruawai has had a varied history over the past 50 plus years. When Paul’s father purchased the property in 1965 it was running sheep and beef, but he changed to farming bull beef with some vegetable cropping before converting to dairy. When Paul returned to the farm in 1998 having completed an agricultural degree at Massey, the farm was moved back into producing bull beef.
David Wordsworth’s father and uncle started out growing maize and barley for their pig farm near Te Kopuru on the Pouto Peninsula just south of Dargaville. To store the feed for the pigs they purchased the disused grain drying and storage facility in Dargaville. David remembers growing grain was “all the rage” back in the 1970s. However, farm systems changed and grain area decreased over the next few decades.
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.
Diversifying their farming business has helped provide income stability for Northland farmers Shawn and Tracey Nichols. The couple run a 404 ha livestock and cropping property at Waihue 6 km north of Dargaville. Each season they contract winter graze around 300 dairy cows and 200 in-calf dairy heifers, as well as 300 of their own cross-bred steers.
Maize growing has brought major lifestyle benefits for Northland farmers Grant and Pauline Taylor. The Taylors along with children Suzannah (18), Theo (17), Aidan (15) and Claudia (10) farm at Mititai just south of Dargaville.
Blue water ocean sailing is a long way from the land based business of growing maize, but because of the flexibility maize offers, South Head grower Neville Seward can follow another of his passions. Offshore yacht racing sees Neville tacking out across the South Pacific on his 60 foot racer "Light Speed" in a number of different events every year.
In the risky world of market gardening Pukekawa onion growers Don and Shane Morrow have found maize grain is a crop that plays a stable and valuable economic role in crop rotation.
A steady return with relatively low capital input makes maize grain growing integral to Ashley Thomas's land redevelopment programme. Maize grain has not only helped develop the land near Mercer, it provides a return that is steadier and less capital intensive than what his market gardening peers contend with up the road at Bombay.
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