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Using maize to double production

Jake and Steve Garrett.

Using maize to double production

2003/04 Season

Owners: Steve and Jenny Garrett
Farm location: Collingwood
Farm size: 225 hectares
Herd size: 575 cows

Ten years of using maize silage has doubled the production of the Rockville Farm Company located near Collingwood at the top of the South Island.

Maize silage is critical to maintaining cow condition in an area inundated with rainfall sometimes totaling three metres a year.

Steve and Jenny Garrett are part owners of the 225 hectare farm company with Steve's parents. The company also recently purchased a 120 hectare farm runoff. 575 cows are milked, producing an average of 370 kilograms of milksolids per cow.

The aim of using maize silage in 1993 was to extend lactation and get 100% of the herd back to a condition score of 5 plus, at drying off in late May. Steve says "the cows increase condition quickly on maize while still milking. Nowadays maize is fed in spring and autumn. It forms two thirds of the diet in autumn and one third in spring."

"The key benefits are more milk, improved cow condition and improved pasture cover going into winter and spring," says Steve.

Planting early with the right hybrids ensures paddocks are back into pasture quicker. The Garretts grow 12 hectares of Pioneer® brand hybrid 38P05, yielding 22-24 tonnes of drymatter per hectare.