It’s hard to ignore the success Cambridge farming couple Jenny Buckley and Dave van den Beuken have had with Pioneer® brand maize silage.
Waikato farmers Rex and Sharon Butterworth were the Waikato regional winners of the 2015 Dairy Business of the Year. The couple also won the Business Resilience Award, which was given to the farm with the lowest cost of production.
About 20 km inland from Otorohanga is the tiny settlement of Maihiihi which is home to Luke Edwards and his family. Luke is a 20% partner in his family's farm which he manages along with two full time staff. It consists of 220 ha of dairy, another 20 ha of pine, 12 ha for maize and some native bush.
Waikato farmer Tim Montgomerie’s philosophy is to maximise pasture harvest and then use low cost supplements to fully feed his cows.
Maize silage is an integral part of a successful dairy farm system for David and Sue Forsythe. The couple, who milk a split-calving Friesian x Jersey herd on 185 hectares (eff) south of Te Awamutu, have been feeding maize silage for 22 years and are convinced of the crops benefits both as a quality supplement and as an important part of their pasture renewal programme.
Contract growing maize has allowed Waikato couple Murray Frith and Chrissie Ryder to enjoy their rural lifestyle without the tie of milking cows.
Making a little go a long way is the key to success for Taupiri farmers Leon and Pauline Smets. The couple, who came to New Zealand from Holland in 1984, farm near Taupiri in the heart of the Waikato.
Dissatisfied with confinement farming in the USA, Bill Burgess came to NZ to embark on studies in veterinary medicine. Romance and the realisation he could make money farming the Kiwi way has kept him here ever since.
A highly productive system is reaping financial and environment rewards for Paul and Chris MacKenzie. The MacKenzies' farm 83 hectares at Waharoa in the Eastern Waikato. In the 2010-11 season, their 356 cow split-calving Friesian and Friesian cross herd produced 227,000 kgMS (637 kgMS/cow and 2,734 kgMS/ha). This year they have lifted cow numbers and are on track to produce 250,000 kgMS (3,012 kgMS/ha).
Maize silage grown on effluent paddocks without the need for additional fertiliser has provided Waikato farmers Mike and Sue Visser with low cost supplementary feed with the added benefit of utilising excess soil nutrients.
Maize silage plays a critical role in ensuring Malcolm and Elizabeth Macpherson achieve their targets of an average pasture cover of 2,400 kilograms of drymatter per hectare by the 1st June and a cow condition score of close to 5.0 at calving.
Since moving to maize silage, Waikato farmer Noldy Rust has increased production from an all-grass average of 1,100 - 1,200 kgMS/ha to a peak of 1,462 kgMS/ha in the 2006/07 season. Last season, despite the 100 year drought in the Waikato, the farm had its second best season on record producing 68,000 kgMS (1,308 kgMS/ha).
Keeping quality high-producing pastures is a key challenge for Stuart and Kaaren Davey. The Daveys, who were regional winners in the Fonterra Westpac Dairy Excellence Awards in 2004, farm 710 Friesian-Jersey cross cows on a 220 ha (eff.) peat farm in the Matamata-Piako district near Paeroa. Children Robert and Tessa are at university at Lincoln and Waikato respectively.
The desire to keep motivated and challenged led all-grass advocate Noldy Rust to start feeding maize silage two seasons ago. Noldy and his wife Bev along with daughters Jamie, Hayley and Carmen, and foster son Hayze, farm 200 Friesian and Friesian cross cows on 52 hectares (eff.) at Te Pahu in the Western Waikato.
Maize silage is an integral part of a simple yet profitable farming system for Waikato farmers John and Jill Bluett. The Bluetts, who were regional winners of the Fonterra Westpac Dairy Farmer of the Year Business Growth Award in 2004, calve down 950 cows on two properties at Te Pahu, west of Te Awamutu.
Waikato farmer Noldy Rust featured in the Pioneer BrandÃ‚Â® Forage Products Catalogue and "more milk" campaign in 2007.
In the last five seasons John and Christine Lambert have increased milk production by 100% from 1,150 kgMS/ha to 2,300 kgMS/ha in the 05/06 season by moving from a successful all-grass system to one which uses large amounts of maize silage and other supplements.
Morrinsville dairy farmer Steve Allen wanted to check that his simple yet profitable system was operating to its full potential, and that he was maximising his maize silage investment, so he approached Pioneer to conduct a Farm System Analysis (FSA).
The desire to build a farm system that was both profitable and sustainable led Waikato drystock farmer Dan Finlayson to consider maize silage.
Maize silage is a central part of Waikato farmers Nicole and Henry Hendriks highly productive dairy farm system. Henry and Nicole farm 63 effective hectares in partnership with Henry's parents John and Corrie, on the outskirts of Hamilton. In 2004 they were judged overall winners of the productivity award in the Fonterra Westpac Dairy Excellence Awards.
"Unless you are farming for capital gain, it's all about getting as much from the land as you can, while at the same time building a farm system that is both environmentally acceptable and sustainable" says Waikato farmer Tim Montgomerie.
High quality silages play a critical part in the success of Corrlands Waikeria dairy farm operation. Situated around Waikeria Prison, south of Te Awamutu, the farm provides inmate training in a full range of dairy management skills. Over recent years, Corrlands Waikeria was named a finalist in the Farm Manager section of the Fonterra Westpac Dairy Excellence Awards and it also won three major Waikato Ballance Farm Environmental Awards.
Increasing farm profitability as well as reducing variation due to the impact of climate has influenced the farming system developed by David van Bysterveldt and Regina Rodewald. When David and Regina purchased their farm on the flat to rolling peat country near Morrinsville at the end of the 2001/02 season it was producing 1,055 kilograms of milksolids per hectare. In just two seasons, they have lifted production by more than 250% producing a staggering 2,656 kilograms of milksolids per hectare in 2003/04. This season (2005/06) they are on track to produce 2,813 kilograms of milksolids per hectare.
Graeme Davison is a third generation dairy farmer who loves to farm. Along with his wife Rebecca, son Connor (5 months) and parents John and Helen, Graeme milks 900 cows on a 280 hectare farm on the peat at Ruakura near Hamilton.
Farming in the fertile rolling country at Richmond Downs near Matamata, Raewyn and David have fine tuned their intensive system to the point where 860 cows on 182 hectares are pumping out 465 kilograms of milksolids a head or 2,197 kilograms of milksolids per hectare. It has allowed them to reap the benefits of a property almost twice the size, without the accompanying hassles of larger scale land ownership.
Achieving above average maize yields seemed the best approach to bringing down the cost of maize silage to Brendan and Tania Fernyhough. Farming 122 hectares at Walton, near Matamata on fertile soil with Olsen P levels between 40 and 60 mean the farm is well set up to maximise yield and return.
With the ever increasing capital cost of dairy land and pressure to expand, an increasing number of dairy farmers are re-evaluating the 'bigger is better' scenario.
Setting the goal to be out of the dairy by the time he was 40, Mike Randrup never thought he would be advising other farmers on how to achieve similar aims. Now, with wife Lynda he enjoys a Bay of Plenty lifestyle while retaining farm ownership and running a small farm consultancy business.
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