The latest Arable Industry Marketing Initiative survey of maize growers shows that the extremely wet growing season has impacted yields for both maize silage and maize grain.
Wet soil conditions from frequent rain delayed drilling and some crops were flooded and had to be re-drilled.
“Above average rainfall occurred throughout the growing season across New Zealand. A tropical cyclone in February bought heavy rain and winds, which flooded and flattened many crops and delayed harvest of grain crops in many North Island regions,” the report says.
“In some areas, particularly the eastern region between Napier and Gisborne, entire crops have been wiped out.”
The data from 87 farms across New Zealand as of June 1 this year shows an average yield of maize grain at 9.7 t/ha (including estimates for the crops yet to be harvested) – which is down on last season’s average of 11.5 t/ha.
The average yield of maize silage, 19t dry matter (DM)/ha) is also down on last season (at 20.9t DM/ha).
The maize grain harvest was 63% complete as at June 1, which was less than normal, with the 10-year average being 79% complete at this time.
Some of the unharvested area may not be harvestable due to continued wet weather, which means New Zealand tonnages could be overestimates, the report says.
The estimated total tonnage of 164,400t (including unharvested grain) is down 13% on last season’s harvest tonnage as a result of 16% reduced yield from 4% increased harvest area.
Around 89.8% of the total crop had been sold, leaving 16,700t unsold, as held by growers as of June 1, though most of the unsold tonnage was unharvested at this date.
This compared to 5600t unsold at the same time last year, and higher unsold tonnages at the same time in five of the eight previous years.
Spring 2023 sowing intentions were estimated to be 12% lower than last season.
The New Zealand maize silage harvest was 99.7% complete as of June 1.
The estimated total tonnage of 1,051,600t DM was down 7% compared to last season’s harvest, as the result of 9% lower yield from a 3% increased harvest area.
About 65% of the total silage crop had been sold or used, leaving 363,100t DM unused/unsold as at June 1, as compared to 390,200t DM at the same time last year.
Spring 2023 sowing intentions as of June 1 are similar to last season’s – down 3%.