Pioneer maize grain is a key component of the farm succession plan for the Phillips family, providing both an alternative income stream and a nutritious feed for livestock.
A Hawke’s Bay farming operation is certainly not short on feathers in its cap – and the potential to become an authority in the future of the organic maize industry.
More than 45 years ago Bay of Plenty farmers Guy and Isobel Nicol grew their first maize crop. Today the couple, along with their son Grant, plant more than 1,000 ha of maize for grain and silage from Opotiki in the Bay of Plenty through to Waihau Bay on the East Cape.
While the last few decades have seen the conversion of significant areas of arable land to dairying, Northern Hawke's bay farmers Paul and Susan Steele chose to go in the opposite direction when they sold their dairy farm to grow maize.
The purchase of 40 ha of arable land five years ago marked the beginning of a career change for Poverty Bay maize grain grower Bernard Cranswick, who previously operated a transport company for 25 years.
Maize for grain provides additional income whilst spreading the workload for Hawke's Bay grower and contractor Stuart Mawley. Stuart runs Te Mata Contractors Ltd which plants and harvests maize for local growers as well as process crops including tomatoes, sweetcorn and beetroot for Heinz Wattie's Ltd.
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.
Improved maize genetics and better weed control have allowed long-term Northern Hawke's Bay maize growers Ewan Powdrell, his father Rowley and local farmer Michael Thomas to keep increasing their maize grain yields.
Bay of Plenty grower Rob Simpson planted his first maize crop 24 years ago after his interest was sparked by his father's involvement with a company that was marketing maize grain at the time.
An outstanding Pioneer® brand 34B97 strip trial yield of 20.01 t/ha saw Poverty Bay maize grower Brian Amor win the 2008 Pioneer Maize for Grain Yield Competition.
Cropping some of the most isolated maize-growing land in the country provides an income as well as a challenge for Poverty Bay-based Neil Rogers. Neil grows maize on 500 ha of lease land in 15-20 blocks located from Te Kaha through to Tolaga Bay, a distance of more than 200 km.
Mutual respect and strong friendships underpin many of the relationships between Pioneer® brand seeds and the Company's maize growers. This is particularly so with the Company's seed growers, a select group of Gisborne farmers upon whom much of the New Zealand maize industry relies.
A combination of passion, technology and technique has kept Mick Doherty growing maize for over 40 years, and that passion for the crop now continues with the involvement of his son Andrew.
Getting the basics right has been the simple but effective secret behind Brownrigg Agriculture's success as Hawke's Bay's largest maize grower. The Company grows up to 800 hectares of maize on land it owns and leases around the Bay, and which has been built up by the hard work of two brothers, Jonathan and David Brownrigg.
The appeal of combining personal skills and growing the family business was the catalyst for Cameron Power and his brother-in-law Evan Murphy to return to their family maize growing enterprise Power Grain based in Whakatane.
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