Maize yields of 18 tonnes a hectare targeted as part of GRDC project

Gregor Heard
By Gregor Heard
Updated March 7 2022 - 2:37am, first published 2:30am
AMAIZEING: Researchers are targeting maize yields of 18 tonnes a hectare.

THE FIELD Applied Research (FAR) Australia team involved in the Grains Research and Development Corporation's Hyper Yielding Crops project that has amped up maximum yields for wheat, barley and canola is turning its attention to maize.

As part of the GRDC's Optimising Irrigated Grains program, FAR is looking at how far the envelope can be pushed in regards to maize, an increasingly important crop for irrigated growers in the Murray and Murrumbidgee valleys.

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And the top-end yields look impressive, with the project targeting yields of a staggering 18 tonnes a hectare.

Nick Poole, FAR Australia managing director said agronomic advances were making higher yields possible.

A crop walk in north-eastern Victoria this week will look at ways farmers can continue to bolster yield and take results to the next level.

"Topics for discussion will cover important aspects of growing grain maize under irrigation with the aim of driving adoption for improved agronomic management practices and profitability," Mr Poole said.

While high yields are possible, rising input costs mean farmers are weighing up their input options carefully.

The optimum timing for nitrogen application will be a key point of discussion, with the FAR Australia team looking at what is the sweet spot where high yields are maintained but farmers can look to make savings in terms of fertiliser applications.

Mr Poole said farmers also needed to factor in where the maize crop fitted in within the overall rotation.

Double cropping and whether agronomy programs need to be tailored differently when maize is planted later after a winter crop such as canola is also critical for growers getting the most out of their maize crops.

He said another key driver of yield was plant population and finding the optimum number of plants for best dry matter production, grain yield and harvest index.

The Maize Trials Field Walk will be held at the Peechelba East research site on Teagues Road, north-west of Wangaratta from 9.30am to 11am.

FAR Australia is working on the project in collaboration with the Irrigated Cropping Council.

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Gregor Heard

Gregor Heard

National Grains Industry Reporter

Gregor Heard is Fairfax Ag Media's national grains industry reporter, based in Horsham, Victoria. He has a wealth of knowledge surrounding the cropping sector through his ten years in the role. Prior to that he was with the Fairfax network as a reporter with Stock & Land. Some of the major issues he has reported on during his time with the company include the deregulation of the export wheat market, the introduction of genetically modified crops and the fight to protect growers better from grain trader insolvencies. Still involved with the family farm he is passionate about rural Australia and its people and hopes to use his role to act as an advocate for those involved in the grain sector. Away from work, he is a keen traveller, having spent his long service leave last year in Spain learning the language.

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