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Maize is a great way to diversify

Kirk Simpson on his Waikato farm.

Maize is a great way to diversify

2009/10 Season

Owners: Kirk Simpson and Mary-Anne Murphy
Farm location: Waikato
Farm size: 54 ha
Pioneer® brand hybrids grown: 36Y84, 37Y12
Number of seasons growing: 2

Maize has enabled Waikato grain growers Kirk Simpson and Mary-Anne Murphy to decrease workload and increase their farm’s financial performance.

Kirk, Mary-Anne and their sons Anthony (13) and Jonathan (12) farm 176 ha on two properties at Te Kuiti and Waitetuna (near Raglan). This year, they have planted 54 ha of Pioneer® brand maize and are finishing lambs and beef cattle and grazing dairy cows on the balance of the farm.

Kirk and Mary-Anne started growing maize silage on their Te Kuiti property five seasons ago. Two years ago, they moved to a mix of silage and grain at Te Kuiti and they have grown a grain crop at Waitetuna each year since they purchased that farm in 2008.

"We run a cultivation business, specialising in cropping. Maize growing complements the cycles within our contracting operation. It is a great crop to grow and a lot less work than livestock."

The majority of the land is disced and power harrowed before planting in October. A starter fertiliser of around 150 kg/ha of DAP is drilled at planting and crops are sidedressed by helicopter in early December.

Kirk is looking for proven hybrids that yield well and he works with local Pioneer® brand seeds Area Manager Grant McDonald to determine the best alternatives.

"Grant has been a great help to us since we started in maize," says Kirk. "Each year we sit down and discuss the best hybrid options for our farms and we are happy to run with Grant’s recommendations."

Last year, Kirk and Mary-Anne grew a mix of Pioneer® brand 35D28 and 34D71. This year they have moved to Pioneer® brand 36Y84 and 37Y12.

"We have chosen early hybrids because they are a better match for our growing conditions," says Kirk. "We can get them harvested early before the ground gets too wet."

This year’s crops are on-track to be harvested in late April or early May and the land will be planted in oats after the maize harvest.

Kirk and Mary-Anne are very happy with their move to maize and believe it will be a long-term feature in their farm system.

"Maize definitely has a place in our farming business into the future," says Kirk. "We enjoy growing it and it is financially rewarding."