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Brownrigg Agriculture - three time champion!

Jonathan Brownrigg beside a crop of 34D71 his winning hybrid in the 2005 Pioneer® Maize for Grain Yield Competition.

Brownrigg Agriculture - three time champion!

2005/06 Season

Owners: Brownrigg Agriculture
Farm location: Hawke's Bay
Farm size: 800 hectares
Pioneer® brand hybrids grown: 33J24, 34K77, 34D71, 38P05
Number of seasons growing: 20

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.

Brownrigg Agriculture has won the Pioneer Maize for Grain Yield Competition three times in 2002, 2005 and 2006. So far they are the only growers to win the award more than once.

This year saw the Brownriggs win with Pioneer® 33J24, achieving 18.62 tonnes per hectare. Achieving such excellent yields is no accident.

"We quickly realised we could grow 12 to 13 tonnes per hectare and over time have developed from there by fine tuning planting dates, hybrid selection and cultivation methods" says Jonathan.

The Brownriggs have found maize fits well into the rotation of their other high value crops of export squash and onions.

"Maize growing is really about getting the job right at the beginning. You have to select the right hybrid, identify the optimum planting date, choose the best site, and cultivate it well along with a robust fertiliser programme. After that, the die is basically cast the day the crop goes in, making it a straightforward crop to grow."

The winning of the Pioneer Maize for Grain Competition underscores the on-going and rewarding relationship Brownrigg Agriculture has developed with Genetic Technologies over the years.

Over time Brownrigg Agriculture have brought forward their planting from November into October, and more recently even earlier into September.

"The ideal window for us is from September 15 to October 10. We maximise plantings in this window as machinery capacity, weather and ground conditions allow" says Jonathan.

Jonathan describes maize as an ideal "balancing" crop; the relatively high nitrogen utilisation allows it to take up surplus nitrogen remaining in the soil from earlier process crops. The large root structure of maize also keeps soils friable and aerated between the other more intensive process crops.

Maize is a soil friendly crop if managed properly, especially at harvest. All harvesting equipment including the harvester and the tractor/chaser bin are fitted with rubber tracks, limiting compaction damage.

"We also enjoy the fact that unlike process crops we manage the crop ourselves. We use our own techniques and technology. We make our own decisions around planting and harvest dates and the ground and weather conditions in which we operate" says Jonathan.

This year's third grain competition win proves the Brownriggs are on course to achieve their target of 20 tonnes per hectare, ensuring maize will remain an integral part of their successful farming business.