A first time try of the Pioneer® hybrid P1070 maize produced excellent yields in two different locations for dairy farmer Ian Hooker, of Loch in South Gippsland, Victoria. Mr Hooker said he’d been growing maize for 15 years although it was the first time he had planted P1070.
He said they put in 23 hectares all up with the 13 hectares off-farm producing yields of 26 dry matter tonnes per hectare of silage.
“The 10 hectares of the dairy farm was almost as good,” he said.
Maize is planted as the weather warms up in November and is normally taken through harvest as silage in April.
Mr Hooker said the away block was about 20 minutes from the dairy farm on river flats which held moisture really well.
“It does grow great maize,” he said.
The block is not irrigated, with the subsoil moisture and good natural falls of rain used to grow the crop.
A planting rate of between 97,000 and 98,000 seeds per hectare was used to sow the P1070 hybrid, with an excellent germination achieved across the two paddocks.
“The germination was close to 100 per cent,” Mr Hooker said. “There weren’t too many missing plants.” He said maize was a good option for the best utilisation of their country. It can also be used as part of the dairy ration at different times of the year.
“I do like growing maize. It is a bit of a challenge and it is a good crop. We can then use maize when it suits us.”
Maize silage is used on the property for both milking cows and dry cows and would typically be fed out in the late autumn and winter period.
“It is great tucker,” Mr Hooker said. “If it wasn’t for this we would be in trouble.”
During spring, the cows utilise the pasture paddocks which are typically hitting their straps and there is also an opportunity to conserve any leftover maize silage for later.
This year the higher yields from more hectares of maize will allow the dairy to also use the silage after New Year and take the pressure off buying in different feed options.
While maize has been grown for the dairy across a period of 15 years, there was one summer where it was not planted, and caused some issues with the cost of purchasing feed.
“That year we bought more feed in than it would have cost to grow the maize,” Mr Hooker said.
Typically the maize is planted for three to four years running on the same paddock, and annual ryegrass is sown in the same areas across the winter period.