PAC 624 offering silage options for dairy farmersMay 29, 2020
Growing corn on the Shoalhaven river flats is always going to be a risky proposition for the Manildra Group but since venturing into it some 6 years ago they have grown some tremendous crops.
“In theory the flats are ideal for growing corn but we always have to live with the threat of floods wiping the crops out. If the floods appear early on you potentially lose everything with corn but other plant species at least allow you to salvage something,” Greg Smith, Farming Manager said.
The corn grown on the Nowra farm fits their program very well with the recycled water from the starch factory being used to irrigate the corn. Corn being a very big user of water compliments their operation and all the corn (200 ha of PAC 624 last season) is grown for silage. The silage is both used on farm and sold to local dairy farmers.
Farming Manager at the Groups Nowra farm, Greg Smith says “you always start worrying after Christmas about the potential of floods & the impact they might have on standing crops of corn with all your input costs already outlaid up front”.
“That’s exactly what happened this last season with river water inundating a lot of the corn and for several days causing some of it to die prematurely. It was a mad rush to get contractor John Henry & his team in to salvage most of it before plant moisture dried to nothing. It was not so much the local water from the 150 mm but the water that came out of the hills where there was up to 400 mm at Robertson and 300mm at Bugong. All the water met together causing king tides resulting in the Shoalhaven River & Broughton Creek breaking their banks,” Greg said.
“Our later planted corn was generally on higher country and was not affected as bad and we were able to chop it all at close to the right moisture of 32% DM.”
“Overall, 75% of our corn was inundated to various levels resulting in a difficult silage harvest with corn ranging from almost dead to spot on moisture in the same field. The early plant (October/November) was obviously more advanced was more effected than the later December plant,” Greg added.
“We may implement a change of approach by planting some quicker maturing corn to try and get us away from chopping in the most prone period for higher rainfall – late Jan-Feb.
“I was more than impressed with the new quicker corn PAC 328 (CRM 104) that Pacific Seeds trialled and had on show at a field day earlier in the year at John Henry’s. That type of maturity looks like it does not give away too much yield compared to the corns under 100 CRM maturity but will come in some 10-14 days quicker than PAC 624.”
“Having said that we will find it hard to go away from PAC 624 as we have been growing it since we first started 6 years ago and it has been really good to us and very consistent with good yields and plenty of starch. It always produces a bloody good cob and plant making excellent silage. The cob size really impressed us and that is what we are chasing, energy not protein in the corn silage.”