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Farmers growing maize looking to rebound from difficult 2016/17

October 2017

After one of the most challenging years imaginable, farmers growing maize are looking forward to better times in the coming season.  After one of the most challenging years imaginable, farmers growing maize are looking forward to a better season. They can expect no worse, after poor weather, subsequent disappointing yields and low commercial prices left many operating at a loss last year.

A difficult 2016/17 started when the early lack of heat and sunshine left crops well behind, imposing limits on yield potential. Later, the wet autumn left the harvest for grain and silage maize crops a month behind, putting many growers out of pocket on harvesting contracts and meaning some crops were left in the paddock. As a consequence, more paddocks around the countryside were not planted this year or were behind schedule. Silage yields were 10 per cent below normal, and grain yielded between 10 and 15 per cent less than average.

Growers now have grounds to expect better and can consign 2016/17 to the history books.

Improvements in the outlook for dairy farming, and increased demand for supplementary feed, will flow on to growers of maize grain and silage. Demand for supplements this season should be above where it was in recent years and, because Fonterra has limited the use of palm kernel, demand for alternative supplements, such as maize grain and silage, should increase. Growers ought therefore to be better rewarded than last season.

Pending climatic conditions, the outlook might improve yet further.  Growers looking to maximise yields should review the recently released independent FAR Maize Hybrid Performance Trials multi-year results, where Corson Maize Seed hybrids performed extremely well.


This report was prepared in consultation with Corson Maize Seed. For more information click here.