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Passion for Maize

Passion for Maize "Hobby" Pays Dividends

2020/21 Season

Owners: Kevin & Lynette Wing
Farm location: Tauhei, Waikato
Farm size: 72 ha
Pioneer® brand hybrids grown: P9721, P0640 and P0362

Kevin, a fulltime truck driver, spends his days off tending to his 72 ha maize crop on land he owns and leases at Tauhei, near Morrinsville, with wife Lynette and children Jayden and Ethan.

Kevin has planted 32 ha of maize on his home block and another 40 ha on a nearby lease block.

“I’ve been growing maize since 2006, and maize specifically for grain for the last four years,” Kevin says.

“It started as a bit of a hobby when I planted out 1.6 ha on my 4 ha lifestyle block, but it’s grown from there!”

But Kevin’s maize crop has not become so big that he can’t continue to do things the way he likes it: all by himself.

“I do everything myself, from start to finish.” He says. “I undertake the spraying, mowing, cultivation, and planting; I drive the combine harvester and I cart the grain to the truck and then onto the mill at Walton.”

“I started with a two-furrow plough and a Ford 5000 tractor, and I’ve built up to a John Deere tractor and a combine – and I’ve just added a truck so I can cart my own grain to the mill.”

The farm is comprised of two soil types, clay and peat, with one usually performing better than the other depending on the prevailing weather that season.

“In a wet season the peat doesn’t do as well, but this year, the peat has been outstanding compared to the higher ground,” Kevin says.

The diversity of the soil types means Kevin can split the crop into early and later planting dates, which also splits the harvest dates and reduces the pressure on his time.

Kevin starts his maize season by cultivating his maize paddocks in early October, and in mid-late October planting is underway.

Last season he planted 19 ha of Pioneer® hybrid P9721, a hybrid recommended by the Pioneer team for its suitability to Kevin’s ground, as well as ease of shelling when combining.

The remaining 52 ha of maize is evenly split between P0640 and P0362, both of which deliver consistently good yields on Kevin’s property.

Crops yield an average of 13.5 t/ha.

Kevin puts the land back into annual ryegrass over winter, which is cut and sold to local dairy farmers as silage.

For the last five years, Kevin has been working closely with Pioneer Area Manager Brent Bishop.

“Brent has been absolutely great,” Kevin says. “And Pioneer’s back-up service has been phenomenal; they really stand behind their product at all times.”

“I couldn’t speak more highly of the team; they are really proactive.”

Kevin says he takes real pride in watching his maize crop come to maturity each season.

“Maize is an amazing plant, the way it captures water and sunlight and what it produces,” he says.

“Every year I learn something new; I get a real buzz out of growing it.”