Last week I opened the Foundation for Arable Research - Maize Conference 2009.
Over the past 30 years I have observed maize becoming an important component of New Zealand's primary sectors.
Maize silage is now an integral part of the dairying system in New Zealand. It provides a good supplement to pasture, keeping stock in condition when pasture is limited, and it helps to increase milk production.
Last year both the maize and dairy industries were booming. Record payouts for milk solids, combined with drought meant that demand for silage in 2008 often outstripped the available supply. Prices were high. This year with a falling milk payout and better climatic conditions demand for silage has reduced.
I have been disappointed to hear of deals between maize growers and dairy producers being reneged on. This sort of behaviour does not bode well for either growers or buyers and is poor business practice. I encourage both the maize and dairy industries to look long-term and work together to weather these economically challenging times.