VPMAXX Testimonial

Reaching a new level of profitabilityReaching a new level of profitability

Richard and Creina James, with son Ben and family, milk 550 cows on a 140-ha milking platform in the eastern Bay of Plenty.

They have moved from a System 3 to a System 5 farm under Ben’s management, with the incorporation of VPMAXX® maize helping them reach new levels of profitability.

Richard and Creina started sharemilking in 1975 and have planted maize on the flood-prone farm as feed insurance since they arrived in 1983.

Historically the James’ planted 10-15 ha of maize, predominantly on lease land. Today, the family grows 37 ha of maize – 13 ha on the milking platform, 18 ha on their runoff and 5.5 ha on lease land nearby.

The farm has a firm goal of trying to reduce palm kernel usage. They aim to have 800-900 tDM of maize silage on hand, feeding 1.5 tDM of maize silage per cow on the feed pad year-round to produce 600 kgMS/cow.

“Cow condition is paramount, and growing maize on farm has allowed us to stop buying high-cost inputs and grow our own feed at home, and under our own control,” Richard says.

The James’ first planted a trial plot of VPMAXX® maize five years ago. This area has increased each year, with VPMAXX® making up half their total maize crop last season.

Their VPMAXX® maize crop proved its worth last season when the Bay of Plenty was hit hard with Northern Leaf Blight (NLB). The James’ VPMAXX® crop was not only untouched by NLB but was already outperforming the other hybrids on farm. This led the family to plant 100% VPMAXX® maize this season.

Ben ensures a “continual stream” of maize is planted from September onwards, to be harvested from January to April.

This season they planted 23 ha of VP399, a hybrid of very short maturity (126-140 days) which will be harvested in January and February ensuring feed is available early. They also planted 14 ha of VP611, a full maturity hybrid which provides a high quality and bulk yield.

Planting dates are based on weather conditions, so having VPMAXX® Account Manager Barry Smallridge’s input has been invaluable.

“Barry is great at recommending hybrids and establishing when we should plant,” Richard says.

Although the James’ were “100% sold” on VPMAXX® after last season’s performance, Barry’s knowledge and approachability has been the icing on the cake.

“The support Barry gives us is second to none,” Ben says. “He’s always there when we need him and regularly keeps an eye on the crop for us”.