Shepparton producers scoop the maize pool

19.5 tonne Maize crop wins national award
North East & Goulburn-Murray Farmer
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MAIZE WINNER: Ian and Mary Hamono, farmers from Cooma, have taken out the irrigated category of the National Maize Competition, yielding a 19.5 tonne Maize Crop. The top three winners were all from the Shepparton region. Pictured (from left) are Andrew Pollard from event sponsor Netafim, winner Ian Hamono, and local agronomist Luke Nagle.

A MAIZE crop grown out of Shepparton has taken out a national award, with all three top placegetters from the same region.

Ian and Mary Hamono from Cooma won the irrigated section of the National Maize Competition, with Craig Reynolds from Congupna and Kagome Farms from Rochester rounding out the top three.

The Hamono family grew a crop of Pioneer hybrid P1467, which was yield tested at 19.54 tonnes per hectare and used just six megalitres per hectare of water throughout summer.

“I had a pretty good inkling that I was right up there with the yield that I got,” Mr Hamono said.

“It’s pretty neat – I was runner up last year, so I would have been really disappointed if I didn’t make the grade this year.”

Each season, Mr Hamono carefully considers his cropping options for the area, irrigated via both sub-surface drip irrigation and pivot.

During the 2017/18 season, the average price of water was around $115/ML for Goulburn 1A, at the time equating to a total cost of $690/ha just for water.

The award winning crop was sown at a rate of 95,000 seeds per hectare, following a vetch silage crop the season before.

The area was then subbed up using the sub-surface drip irrigation before being strip tilled and directly planted to maize.

Mr Hamono said one of the advantages of sub-surface irrigation was being able to apply nitrogen to the crop during the season to match demand, with a total of 270kg/ha applied during the growing season.

The nitrogen applications commenced after seeding, with approximately 39kg/ha of nitrogen applied fortnightly until tasselling.

Mr Hamono typically targets 16 tonnes per hectare for maize across his entire property, which includes medium and short season varieties of grit and feed.

Late last month, he planted the same variety of maize, hoping to crack 20 tonnes/hectare for next year’s competition – and perhaps make it a back to back win.

“I put a bit of jungle juice with this year’s lot, and a bit more fertiliser,” Mr Hamono said.

“The record crop is 23.5 tonnes, from out at Boort – that’s the plan.”

Just down the road at Congupna and Craig Reynolds took out second place in the irrigated section, with a yield of 19.18 tonnes per hectare from Pioneer® hybrid P1467, irrigated via flood irrigation using 6.5 ML/ha, at a WUE of 2.95 tonnes per ML of water.

Kagome Farms, from Rochester, were a very close third with a yield of 19.12 tonnes per hectare from Pioneer® hybrid P1504E.

First prize in the irrigation category included airfares and accommodation to the value of $5000 to attend an international maize industry event.

More farming news and stories can be read in the November, 2018 print edition of North East & Goulburn-Murray Farmer or click here to access digital editions.