The Trust is a joint initiative between NARF and Fonterra, with considerable support from DairyNZ. They contract a science manager and Trust coordinator on a part time basis to ensure the following objectives are met.
- To raise the profile of Northland as an innovative and progressive dairying region.
- To conduct sound research with a focus on profitability and environmental stewardship.
- To evaluate new dairying technologies in an independent robust fashion.
- To utilise the valuable resource at Northland Agricultural Research Farm (NARF) to conduct research relevant to Northland dairy farmers.
Northland Agricultural Research Farm (NARF)
NARF is the most valuable venue that NDDT uses to conduct research, and was originally established as the Northern Wairoa Experimental and Demonstration Farm in the 1920s. In 2001 the farm name was changed to reflect the Northland-wide focus it had developed and it is operated as an Incorporated Society, owned by all Northland Dairy Farmers and managed by an executive committee of Northland farmers and rural professionals.
The farm has the unique ability to run systems trials on up to three farmlets with up to 80 cows each. This gives enough scale for robust comparisons and there is great interest in the work the farm does from the length of the country.
Another feature is the accessibility of the science to the dairy community. Farmers and industry members are encouraged to attend the fortnightly farm meetings and join the discussion and debate on the current and future management of the farm.
Research has been farmer driven and has covered a range of dairy farm issues, including kikuyu management, gibberellic acid, split calving, endophytes, standoff pads and nitrogen use. The current trial has been set up in response to farmers wanting to reduce their reliance on imported feed, particularly PKE.
The Reducing Reliance on Imported Feed Trial began at NARF in 2015 and compares the profitability of farms without imported supplements - one grass only and one growing crops – with that of a farm importing PKE. This trial is funded by DairyNZ and MPI.
For more information on all of our research work click here