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Higher populations yield extra profit

Tania and Brendan Fernyhough.

Higher populations yield extra profit

2003/04 Season

Owners: Brendan and Tania Fernyhough
Farm location: Walton
Farm size: 122 hectares
Herd size: 400 cows

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.

After reading about maize harvest yield achievements overseas, Brendan was convinced that there was a lot more potential in the Pioneer® brand hybrids they were planting. Brendan says, "In an effort to further increase our yields, last season we planted Pioneer® brand 36H36 and 33G26 at 120,000 seeds per hectare, against the previous rate of 90,000 seeds per hectare". He admits he was unsure how successful the exercise would be when they looked at the crop during the growing season. "It was very dense but the plants were thinner and the cobs were smaller, we were not convinced we had made the right decision". However, the proof was in the harvesting. At harvest time they recorded a crop yield of around 30 tonne of drymatter per hectare, higher than they had ever produced.

This season Brendan and Tania planted a maize silage population trial in conjunction with Pioneer® brand seeds. The results have revealed that higher plant populations work well in their growing environment.