Maize silage and grain are cost effective, high value, high carbohydrate crops used extensively throughout New Zealand for both animal feeds and human consumption.
Maize Hybrid Performance Trials
The Maize Hybrid Performance Trials are now in their fifth season. These trials are conducted in association with the NZ Plant Breeding and Research Association and evaluate commercially available hybrids from Corson Maize Seed, Pacific Seeds and Nutritech for use as silage and/or grain production.
Long term maize establishment trial
A long-term trial comparing the production of maize using full cultivation, strip tillage and no-till planting for cross establishment at the Northern Crop Research Site at Tamahere near Hamilton has found no significant difference in yield between the three planting systems. The results also indicated that there can be significantly higher soil moisture present in soils that have had strip tillage and no-till planting compared with full cultivation.
Slug pressures were higher in no-till planted plots compared with full cultivation plots.
On-farm crop establishment trials
In 2016 FAR purchased a John Deere MaxEmerge2 no-till maize planter, and has established several replicated trials comparing full cultivation and no-till crop establishment with growers from the Kaipara Harbour to East Cape regions. We hope that the findings of this work will encourage the uptake of no-till crop establishment to reduce costs and environmental pressures, and increase profitability.
Cover crop trials
Cover crops grown before, during or after maize and other crops can play an important role by protecting the soil, reducing weed infestation and reducing nutrient loss from the soil. FAR is carrying out various cover crop trials at our NCRS site to study various cover crops, and how they can benefit the cropping system.
The role of silage inoculants
Silage making is becoming increasingly important in New Zealand. Improved management practices have been developed and products to improve silage quality, particularly silage inoculants, have entered the market. However, it is not easy for farmers to evaluate the effectiveness of different silage inoculants on the farm.
In 2016 FAR commissioned a study into the range of silage inoculants available in New Zealand. The following Arable Extra and Report outline the usefulness of silage inoculants and provides guidelines for good decision making when selecting them.