Maize plantation gains ground in Australia

Corn Field - Zhu - FlickrCorn is a labour intensive crop to grow. (Image source: Zhu/Flickr)The Maize Association of Australia (MAA) has been encouraging farmers across the country to plant maize by highlighting the crop’s versatility and popularity

The industry body is trying to attract new growers to the crop. According to the association’s CEO Liz Mann, the sensitivity of corn to climate is less than many other field crops and, therefore, it can be grown all across Australia.

In a statement, Mann said, “Maize production is unique compared to other field crops in Australia because it has the widest geographical spread; growing from tropical North Queensland, down to Victoria and Tasmania, and across to the Northern Territory and the southern regions of Western Australia.”

In addition to referring to a strong global demand for corn with new export opportunities opening up, particularly in Asia, Mann’s statement also spoke about corn’s ‘hardiness and its potential for higher returns in comparison to some other traditionally grown crops’, which makes it a perfect addition for those who are thinking of branching out and diversifying from their current cycle of crops.

John Bruce, New South Wales farmer, began planting maize about two years ago hoping to diversify his cropping operations. The additional crop helped boost his income but the move was also influenced by his access to water, the need to maximise his land assets better and access to reliable local markets.

“It doesn't compensate like other crops so if you don’t have good crop emergence because of poor sowing techniques or other factors you are costing yourself yield. We grow our maize on flood irrigation so it is quite labour intensive as opposed to rice, which we also grow, but it is a very ‘feel-good’ crop and the return on investment is very good,” Bruce added.

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