Versatile maize Golden Opportunities by Maree Crawford, publicity coordinator, 5th Australian Maize Conference

Dalby district grower and agronomist Andrew Johnson, wife Ruth and son Tim (left), and Sam, in front of their 'well-performed' Hycorn 424. Growers will have a great opportunity to tour maize and sweet corn operations at the conference in Toowoomba.

PROVIDING AUSTRALIAN farmers with a global perspective on the latest in maize research and production will be the focus of the 5th Australian Maize Conference in Toowoomba, Qld, 18-20 February 2003. The conference theme is 'Versatile Maize — Golden Opportunities'.

Two major seed companies in Australia, Pacific Seeds and Pioneer Hi-bred, have boosted the attractiveness of the program through generous sponsorships, as well as ensuring the involvement of American and Australian farmers and plant breeders.

Pacific Seeds' key maize specialist, based in Iowa, USA, Errol Corssen, will speak on the synergies between maize crops in the US and Australia, while noted Pioneer maize expert Greg Edmeades, from Hawaii, will discuss how drought and heat stress affect maize crops.

Australian farmers Nick Maynard (MIA), Malcolm Foster and James Palfreyman (Rangers Valley Feedlot) will speak on the economic benefit of maize to their operations and how other farmers can apply similar strategies to increase their bottom line.

Other speakers include Brisbane-based CSIRO specialist Dr Michael Robertson who, through funding from the GRDC, has been researching the sustainability of maize in the northern grainbelt with both Pacific Seeds and Pioneer staff. Ethanol production from maize, Australian export market potential, and expanding maize into other environments are among topics that are expected to attract plenty of interest at the conference.

Field tour

A field tour on Wednesday, 19 February, will provide the opportunity for farmers and advisers to take a first-hand look at many aspects of the industry. The tour will take in Oakey (sweet corn grower and processors), Bowenville (Waunui feedlot), Dalby (Dalby Agricultural College) and Jimbour (commercial maize growing operations and trials), and finish with a twilight barbecue at historic Jimbour House.

The conference program will cover all aspects of the maize industry from agronomy through to processing and marketing. It will also cater for the partners of attendees and provide plenty of opportunity for social interaction, with a conference dinner and other functions.

The Annual General Meeting of the Australian Maize Association will also take place during the conference. Special bus services will provide transport to the conference from southern NSW as well as from central Queensland.

To attend 'the maize conference with a difference', contact conference convenor Shelley Stewart-Christie on 07 4631 2190 or email stewartc@usq.ed.au

Region North