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Maize grain key component of farm succession plan

Maize grain key component of farm succession plan

2019/20 Season

Owners: David & Joanne Phillips
Farm location: Tuki Tuki Valley, Hawke's Bay
Farm size: 360 ha
Pioneer® brand hybrids grown: P0547, P8805 & P9241

Hastings sheep and beef farmers David and Joanne Philips farm the Tuki Tuki Valley property that David took over from his parents at age 19. The same property has supported his daughter Lidia and sonin-law Sean to enter the family business as well.

“Our succession planning is in full force,” David says. “I was lucky enough that my parents bought this farm and gave me a hand to get into it so when our kids were raring to get involved, Joanne and I were equally as keen to back and support them into it too.”

The farm business comprises three properties: the 200 ha home block, on which David farms bulls; 160 ha of cropping flats, 100 ha of which is in maize; and a dairy goat farm, on which Lidia and Sean milk 929 goats. In addition to the dairy goat operation, Sean and Lidia farm 280 ha of hill country which they are transitioning from lamb fattening to beef.

Of the 100 ha of maize on the cropping land, approximately 25 ha is planted to Pioneer hybrid P0547. Around 40 ha is planted in P8805 in early October, so it can come off at the end of March/ early April to put back into grass for David’s lamb programme. A further 35 ha of P9241 was grown in the spring of 2018 and harvested as earlage for the goats.

Most of the 160 ha of flat land is irrigatable by centre pivot irrigator.

The ability to water the flats allows David to get very good maize grain yields of around 14.5 tDM/ha.

In addition to supplying their grain company with maize grain, some of the crop goes to the goat farm to supplement the goats’ diet with nutritious feed. The goats’ diet is determined by the recommendations of an animal nutritionist, introduced to them by their Pioneer Area Manager Simon Begley.

The goats eat 900g earlage each per day, plus 300g DDG, 2.2kg wet lucerne, 200g of maize grain, and brewer’s grain.

“When you are pushing goats to perform, they are more sensitive than you think they might be,” David says. “They don’t like change; they like a set pattern that suits the system.”

The waste food from the goat barns is fed to cattle, and waste bedding from barns is spread over maize ground.

The goat milk is supplied to Innovation Park in Hamilton, where it gets dried.

As a former supplier to McCain’s Peas and Sweetcorn, Pioneer maize has now been on David’s purchase list for over a decade, with plenty of support on hand from Simon Begley.

“Simon basically looks after the maize for me,” David says.

“Maize is a crop that suits me – it fits my low-labour policy. I plant it, and other than water it, I don’t have to do anything. It’s always there, always available, regardless of the weather.

“Simon provides great service and support – he’s always available to come out and help.

“Like us, Simon’s involved for the long haul. He gets on well with everyone in the family and we all value and respect his input.”