He cites adaptability, diversification, loyal staff, self reliance, nutrient preservation and, as most successful businessmen have, a secret weapon that gives him a competitive edge. In Mark’s case it’s his partner Angela Thomasen along with long time friend Garry Fotheringham who have helped him expand from 40 ha of maize to a 450 ha operation in just 12 years.
Ten years ago Alan Brown purchased a small block of land and planted his first maize crop. Today he is growing 117 ha for grain and silage on a mix of owned and leased land and is also running an agricultural contracting business.
Maize is helping Waikato farmers Scott and Nikola Mitchell improve the quality of pastures on their lease block as well as providing valuable autumn feed for their herd.
Maize provides Te Kauwhata-based Lloyd and Waikiki Farms the opportunity to diversify their income without adding additional workload during busy times. It has also played an important development role allowing the conversion of land from willows and stumps into productive pasture.
In 2001 Waerenga farmer David Jefferis returned to his family's fourth generation property in the Northern Waikato. David's father Bob had been successfully running a bull beef operation since the early 1980s, capitalising on the good returns back then, despite the vagaries of the US dollar and its effect on New Zealand beef prices.
A life beyond the milking shed is something dreamt about by many sharemilkers, but as land costs climb and cow prices remain flat the prospect of being free of the cow shed remains elusive for many.
For Morrinsville farmers Terry and Chris O'Brien the first year growing maize for grain has proved to be a golden one. After growing maize for silage for the last 18 years, Terry and Chris decided to grow 40 hectares of maize for grain on their 70 hectare property and scooped all the prizes at this year's Pioneer® Maize for Grain Yield Competition. Terry and Chris O'Brien were awarded the Waikato and National Yield Cups at one of Pioneer's mid-winter Industry Get-Togethers held at the Waikato Stadium.
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