The Tauroas are 50/50 sharemilkers for Manawanui Developments Ltd, milking 550 cows over two properties: one farm is 90 ha, the other 65 ha. The System 3 farms, south of Cambridge, produce 190,000 kgMS.
Jim has been growing maize for all his dairying career – since 2006 – and says maize silage is a very good tool for putting condition on cows. This is especially helpful for the Manawanui properties, which are challenging in their topography with some sandy soils close to the river.
“Generally we experience summer dry on this land, so coming out of summer we need maize to put condition back on the cows to continue milking through autumn,” Jim says.
“We feed silage in autumn and spring in varying amounts, from 2-6kg DM per cow.”
The farm grows 22 ha of maize annually, yielding an impressive 23-24 tDM/ha.
Hybrids used include VP577, a tough hybrid with good drought tolerance and leaf disease resistance, suitable for both silage and grain production in the northern regions; VP399, a very short maturity hybrid with strong roots and stalks, drought tolerance and staygreen, providing harvest flexibility and silage with excellent digestibility; and VP611, a full maturity hybrid that is imposing and productive with good drought tolerance.
Jim has had a professional relationship with VPMAXX® representative Alan MacDougall that pre-dates Alan’s time at the maize company.
“Alan’s expertise goes beyond maize,” Jim says. “He always puts us in front of the right people we need to talk to, for any aspect of the farm system. Alan has been a big part of our progression.”
Jim says there is also peace-of-mind knowing someone else is looking over the crop at busy times of the season, without being pushy in their recommendations.
“Alan puts scenarios in front of us, and lets us make the decisions,” Jim says. “I really respect him for that.” Jim says he already had trust in Alan when he started working for VPMAXX®, which has extended to the company as a whole. “We have trust in the VPMAXX® brand and its people,” Jim says.