LONG-TIME gritting corn grower Andrew Free is considering feed corn as another viable income stream for his southern Queensland farm due to the improved varieties on offer and changes in the feed market.
Mr Free, who also grows sorghum, cotton, mungbeans and wheat on “Poplar Woods” at Junabee with his son Ben, has been growing grit corn for many years, supplying the nearby mill, Defiance Maize Products.
However, after running a corn trial on-farm last season and watching the demand for feed grow across the country from the dairy and livestock industries, he is now looking at both markets.
“We normally grow grit corn, but whatever drives our profit margin – that’s what we look it,” he said.
“In the last few years grit corn has been in the range of $300 – $350/tonne, and this year feed prices are $100/t above that, which is an incentive to try feed varieties.
“While feed varieties don’t usually attract a premium, they can quite often achieve 10-15 per cent more yield due to generally higher starch content, so you have to do your sums.
“The way the feed market turned out this year, our intention this season is to plant more feed corn.”
Mr Free grew 75 hectares of corn last season, which was split over two planting times and included both commercial crops and several trial crops.
The early plant began in November over 45ha and the later plant began in January over 30ha. Varieties included PAC 727IT, PAC 440, P1888, Amadeus and Amadeus IT.
He said their grit variety of choice is PAC 727IT. Unfortunately, it and the rest of the early corn was decimated by the dry and heat.
“All of the early crop was wrecked in the heatwave in January. It was cut for silage a month later when we were looking at potential disaster. Luckily, the later planted corn made it to grain.”
Included in the later planted corn was new grain/silage hybrid PAC 440, which was harvested in July and yielded 5.2t/ha.
Source: Pacific Seeds