Maize taking root across Australia

For fresh fruit and vegetable marketing and distribution in Asia
Matthew Jones

BY MATTHEW JONES

@matt_fruitnet

Maize taking root across Australia

Industry body encouraing growers to look at the benefits of planting the field crop

Maize taking root across Australia

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The Maize Association of Australia is highlighted the versatility and popularity of its offering in a bid to attract new growers to the category.

The association’s chief executive, Liz Mann, said unlike other field crops that are potentially climate sensitive, maize can be grown Australia-wide. Mann added that there was stong global demand for the crop, with new export opportunities opening up, particularly in Asia.

“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,” Mann explained in a press release.  “Its hardiness and its potential for higher returns in comparison to some other traditionally grown crops makes it a perfect addition for those who are thinking of branching out and diversifying from their current cycle of crops.”

New South Wales farmer John Bruce began planting maize almost two years ago in a bid to diversify his cropping operations. While the additional crop helps boost his income, the move was also influenced by his access to water, the need to maximise his land assets better and access to reliable local markets.

“They call maize the recipe crop because it’s very easy to grow, however it is critical that it’s planted properly,” Bruce said. “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.”

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