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2019/20 Season

Owners: Hayden & Line Ferriman
Farm location: Hinds, Canterbury
Farm size: 206 ha milking platform
Herd size: 725 cows
Pioneer® brand hybrids grown: P8000

The Ferrimans milk 725 cows on a 206 ha milking platform at Hinds, producing an impressive 358,000 kgMS. They are in their second season growing 5 ha of Pioneer maize on farm.

“For the past four seasons, we have purchased maize from our neighboring arable farmer and utilised it primarily by feeding it to springer cows in the transitionary time prior to calving, to minimise metabolic issues,” Hayden says.

“It starts them on the right foot going into calving, which has a positive flow on effect down the track.”

Last year was the first year they grew 5 ha of Pioneer P8000 maize on farm, primarily to utilise a particularly unproductive part of the farm.

“Last year we had a bit of “beginner’s luck”, yielding 25 tonnes DM/ha,” Hayden says.

The extra maize has seen the Ferrimans expand their use of the crop to address a challenge that they identified within their system.

“Although adding maize to the cows’ diet prior to calving was the main reason we started using it in the first place, the way we have utilised the homegrown feed – to extend lactation and improve body condition score in the autumn - has been quite an eye-opener for us,” Hayden says.

“The increased milk production, which I feel is attributable to the excellent condition they are in has been incredible.”

“We’ve never had our cows milk as well at this time of the season as they have this year.”

“Also, it’s too early to tell what kind of impact it has had on reproductive rates, but we are hopeful that we will see an improvement as a result of the cows being in better condition leading into mating”.

The Ferrimans’ Pioneer Area Manager Daryl Moore says the couple has a reputation as progressive farmers always looking at ways to improve cow performance and health in a sustainable manner.

“Maize fits well with the way we like to operate our system,” Hayden says.

“It gives us another tool in the toolbox in terms of managing on-farm nutrients – in particular our dairy shed effluent – and it also reduces our reliance on imported feed”.

“Growing maize on-farm is a really good option for managing those two particular items which can contribute so much to total nutrient management.”

Daryl’s advice and support has meant a great deal to the Ferrimans as they navigate the first few seasons of growing maize on farm.

“We’ve dealt with Daryl for the past two seasons and he has been excellent,” Hayden says.

“He not only has the knowledge and the expertise but is extremely approachable and willing to share his knowledge.

“He’s been particularly helpful to me as a newcomer to growing maize; to upskill me to what’s required to do a good job of it.

“Daryl’s very prompt and courteous to communicate with, which is something I really value.”

Hayden says they will more than likely continue to grow in the region of 5-7 ha of maize on farm annually.