First maize harvested for the season as soils continue to dry

A lack of rain which has left many parts of the country tinder-dry has seen a challenging season for some maize growers.

Maize is grown across New Zealand, and is used for silage and grain for both animal feeds and human consumption.

Farms Systems Specialist for Pioneer Brand Products, Ian Williams, told Magic Talk's Rural Exchange that some growers have been coping with very dry conditions.

"On the peats and silts, anywhere there is irrigation, it looks a million dollars - but in dry soils it starts to pack up," said Mr Williams.

He said the first crop has been harvested.

"We have just got the first crop off. It was in the South Island, and was looking good. We also have reports of crops coming off in Hawke's Bay."

Ian Williams said because of the dry weather, farmers should make sure they keep a close eye on their crops in case they need to harvest early.

"Some farmers think it won't be ready until mid-March, but in some cases it could be ready by late February."

He said there was a huge moisture deficit in some areas.

"While maize is really drought-tolerant, no rain for a month means even the best crops suffer. If the maize is too dry, it is hard to compact, so it could be wise to harvest a bit earlier."

Watch Ian Williams' full interview with Magic Talk's Rural Exchange team above.

Seeds is a regular REX feature sponsored by Pioneer Brand Products.

Rural Exchange with Hamish McKay and Richard Loe, 6-8am Saturday and Sunday on Magic Talk.

Newshub.