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Can growers reduce their input costs and maintain yield

Monday 22 August 2011

Can growers reduce their input costs whilst maintaining yields?

Following four years of research, Diana Mathers of the Foundation for Arable Research (FAR) is confident they can. If growers simply adopt a single pass planting system for maize they will reduce their input costs whilst also maintaining yields she says.

"Over time it will also improve soil quality. Trials at the FAR Waikato Arable Research Site, and on farm trials across a number of regions have shown that using a single pass planting system has not compromised yields, and although a slow process, the soil attributes have also improved." So why are maize growers not adopting this technique? "Getting farmers to give it a go is difficult - they are often concerned that it is too risky for their farm."

Funded by MAF SFF and co-funded by FAR, FAR will be delivering a number of discussion groups in Taranaki, Waikato and Manawatu to discuss reduced tillage options for maize with farmers and contractors. A number of on-farm demonstrations will occur which aim to compare the usual planting practice with a single pass planting system to encourage discussion and learning.

"We've drawn together a group of experts and a list of the things that must be considered to get a good result to support those that are giving it a go. These include; what needs to be done to the planter, what are the best soil conditions and what should growers be looking out for when the crop is young."

The aim is to determine how reduced tillage practices for maize will work in these regions with the hope that more farmers might give it a go. Based on the success at the demonstration sites FAR hopes the adoption rate will increase, thus reducing establishment costs for those farmers in the long term.


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