Date: 22 November 2017

First and second places have gone to hybrids from seed company Pioneer® brand products in the inaugural yield competition hosted by the Maize Association of Australia.

Nathan Heckendorf, of Narrandera, in southern New South Wales, took out the irrigated section of the competition with a crop of Pioneer® hybrid P1756 that was yield tested at 18.36 tonnes per hectare.

Ian Hamono, of Cooma, in northern Victoria, was placed second with a yield of 17.05 tonnes per hectare from Pioneer® hybrid P1414.

And Paul Elsden, of Brookstead in southern Queensland, won the dryland competition with Pioneer® hybrid P1467 at an adjusted yield of 8.51 tonnes per hectare.

Pioneer Corn Product Manager, Jason Scott, said the results from the MAA competition were a great example of growers combining the genetic potential of the seed with good agronomy to achieve high yields.

“The MAA results demonstrates that the highest yields come from Pioneer corn and builds on the domination the hybrids have had in other yield competitions.  Pioneer corn hybrids have also consistently taken out the major placings in the annual RASQ yield competition on the Darling Downs in Queensland stretching back more than a decade.”

Mr Scott said many long-term corn growers in Australia were now at the stage of tweaking their agronomic programs to further increase yields and maximise the genetic potential of the hybrids.

“Nathan Heckendorf, who had the highest yield in the competition at 18.36 tonnes per hectare, increased from his previous best result of 17.6 tonnes per hectare,” he said.  “This was achieved by lifting the planting rate from 80,000 seeds per hectare to 82,000 seeds per hectare and implementing an irrigation and nutrition program to target those higher yields.”

“Next season Nathan is further fine-tuning his program to target a yield of 19 tonnes per hectare.”

The Australian record for corn is 21 tonnes per hectare which was set with a Pioneer hybrid back in the 2004/05 season at Boort in northern Victoria.

Mr Scott said the new generation of corn hybrid certainly had the genetic potential to exceed that record crop and Pioneer were keen to work closely with growers to maximise yield and profitability from their corn crops.

He said Paul Elsden, who won the dryland competition, was an excellent example of growers consistently increasing yields across seasons.

“Paul Elsden grows corn on both dryland and irrigated country and has been able to steadily increase the average yields across seasons.  He said, on the irrigated country, good weed management and agronomic practices had led to an increase of ten per cent per year which equated to a one tonne per hectare improvement.

The winning dryland crop on the Elsden property was planted on January 5 at a planting rate of 32,000 seeds per hectare.

It was harvested as high moisture grain and transported to a feedlot, near the town of Texas, in southern Queensland.

Mr Scott said the Maize Association would be running the competition again this season and he encouraged growers to consider their management to achieve those higher yields.

“Fertiliser rates and timing, irrigation schedules, weed control, plant stand consistency and the environment have a major part in determining the final yields,” he said.

“We know the yield potential is available through Pioneer corn genetics so we are very keen to see how far Australian farmers can lift it to and beyond the current records.”