Thursday, 18 April 2024 11:55

An 'amaizing' season

Written by  Peter Burke
Bay of Plenty dairy farmer Doug Leeder says maize yields in the region are the best seen in five years. Bay of Plenty dairy farmer Doug Leeder says maize yields in the region are the best seen in five years.

It's been a bumper season for maize and other supplements in the eastern Bay of Plenty.

Well-known dairy farmer and local body politician Doug Leeder says maize yields in the region are the best they have been for the last five or six years. In the past couple of years a series of rain events have seen significantly lower yields in both the maize and silage takes.

But Leeder says this year the maize yields have been in the order of 25 to 30 tonnes per hectare which he adds is big.

“It seems the stars have all been aligned this year and when you are running a biological system, things like this can happen,” he says.

Leeder says while maize yields have been really good, yields of surplus grass have also been exceptionally good.

“We have got silage for Africa here in the Bay of Plenty, so much so that contractors have even been offered grass for free by farmers so that they can clean up their paddocks,” he says.

Leeder says it augers well for the winter and spring but notes that seasons tend to equal themselves out and while there is a great surplus of conserved feed now, a harsh winter could change all that. He says with the tremendous grass growth, cows are heading into calving and mating in very good condition.

On his own farm where he runs about 500 cows, Leeder says the greatest challenge this season has been managing the very good grass growth. He says this makes for a potentially rewarding season and he’ll be a lot better off financially – especially if the payout is around the $8/kgMS mark.

More like this

Selecting maize silage hybrid

The time of the season is a great time to sit down with your Pioneer area manager and merchant representative to discuss maize hybrids. Choosing the right maize silage hybrid to plant for your environment can make a big difference to yield and profit.

Lessons from volatile maize season

Earlier signalling by the dairy industry of how many hectares of maize silage is required each season would assist maize growers to better plan their planting programmes, says the Foundation for Arable Research’s Ivan Lawrie.

Minimising risk of nitrate poisoning

Coming into autumn, maize and summer crops have been harvested/ grazed and farmers are planting their next crop or establishing new permanent pasture.

Setting up for next season

As the season draws to an end for spring calving systems, increased attention and planning should be focused on next season.

Featured

Red tape 'blocking access to crop production products'

Outgoing chief executive of Horticulture New Zealand, Nadine Tunley has taken a swipe at government agencies for the “costly and lengthy regulatory approval process” to get new crop protection products registered.

Farmers back ACT MP's bill

ACT MP and Northland dairy farmer Mark Cameron is lodging a new member’s bill that would prevent regional and district councils from regulating greenhouse gas emissions.

National

Cream of the crop

One of New Zealand's largest dairy farmers won the 2024 'Food, Beverage and Fibre Producer' award at the NZ Primary…

Machinery & Products

Revamped automatic calf feeder

JFC Agri, the family-owned manufacturer of agricultural products from Galway, Ireland, used Fieldays to launch its innovative Evolution range of…

ErgoPOD set for 2025 farm debut

Waikato Milking Systems has unveiled the final production version of its ErgoPOD, a state-of-the-art semi-robotic technology designed to increase milking…

» Latest Print Issues Online

Milking It

100-year-old milk powder

OPINION: A 100-year-old sample of milk powder from Ernest Shackletons’ first solo expedition to Antarctica has been analysed by scientists.

Farmer feedback

OPINION: Sticking with the NZ Primary Industries Summit, Fonterra chief executive Miles Hurrell’s quip about the milk price has been…

» Connect with Dairy News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter