Farm Profiles View Latest Profiles

Back to farm profiles

35 years growing maize grain

35 years growing maize grain

2010/11 Season

Owners: Tom and Amanda Newman
Farm location: Waipaoa, East Coast

Tom and Amanda Newman and sons George (9) and Charlie (7) farm 400 ha at Waipaoa, 25 km north of Gisborne. The farm operates as a family partnership in conjunction with Tom’s parents Bill and Lee Newman. Tom is the third generation of the Newman family to farm the land since his grandfather purchased it in 1937.

In the 2011-12 growing season the Newman’s planted 80 ha of maize for grain, a maize seed crop and 26 ha of barley. They leased 13.5 ha to a local squash grower and grew 8 ha of lemons and mandarins. The balance of the farm is in pasture which is used for a range of livestock enterprises, including breeding ewes and fattening lambs and steers.

Bill started growing maize grain and crib drying it more than 35 years ago. Today Bill manages the livestock while Tom runs the cropping side of the business. Tom also contract harvests around 300 ha of maize grain.

The maize harvest normally starts towards the end of February and finishes by early June. Crop stubble is ploughed in after the combine has been through and the paddock is then cultivated using discs and power harrows prior to planting in early October. Tom applies 300 kg/ha of Crop 20 (20:10:10) as a starter fertiliser and sidedresses with 300 kg urea/ha.

Tom believes the secret to a high yielding crop is good weed control and planting the right hybrid at the right time. In Spring 2011 he planted a mix of Pioneer® brand 37Y12, 34B97, P9400, P0021 and 35Y33.

"I'm looking for hybrids that give me the most money per hectare", says Tom. "I harvest a lot of maize around the district and the Pioneer hybrids generally outstrip the competitors."

Tom believes that maize grain has a long-term future on the farm. “You don’t have to harvest when the ground is wet and you return all the stubble to the ground, so the whole system is sustainable from a soil perspective” he says. “….and if you do it right, you always make money from maize.”