The Pastoral 21 programme was set up in four regions to address issues relevant to that area.
*DairyNZ, Fonterra, Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand, Beef + Lamb New Zealand and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and employment, and managed by AgResearch.
DairyNZ's Scott Farm, Hamilton
Project leader: Kevin MacDonald, Dairy NZ senior scientist
Project goal: To show that an average Waikato farm could increase annual milk production by up to 200kg/ha with increased profit per hectare, while reducing nitrogen leaching from 35-50+ kg/ha per year down to 20-30kg/ha per year.
Project details: Two 13ha farmlets were compared. One represented a typical Waikato farm (Current), with a stocking rate of 3.2 cows/ha. The other with a stocking rate of 2.6 cows/ha, represents a farm managed more efficiently (Future).
Using a combination of approaches (lower N inputs, a stand-off pad, higher BW cows) on the ‘Future’ farmlet, N leaching was reduced by 40-50% over the four winters measured. However, milk production for the Future system was not improved, with milksolid/ha yields at c. 97% of the Current Farmlet. This resulted in net profitability of the Future farmlet being about 5% less than for the Current farmlet. Both farms performed at c. 20% better than the median for Waikato dairy farms.
For further reading on this project click here.
Massey University's No. 4 Dairy Farm Palmerston North
Project leader: Professor Mike Hedley, Massey University
Project goal: To develop a practical housing system for the lower North Island region, that combines high production and profit with lower nitrate and phosphorous leaching.
Project details: Two dairy systems, one with cows housed part-time in the barn (2.8 cows/ha). This was compared to a more typical management system with a herd grazed-off in winter and a feed pad used on wet days in spring and winter (2.8 cows/ha).
Lincoln University Research Dairy Farm and Lincoln University's Ashley Dene Farm
Project leader: David Chapman, DairyNZ principal scientist
Project goal: To develop practical dairy farming systems that combine high production and profit with lower nitrate leaching.
Project details: The project included two farmlets, one with a stocking rate of 3.5 cows/ha and the other with 5 cows/ha, plus three different wintering systems.
Telford Farms Dairy Unit, Telford Farm Training Institute, near Balclutha
Project leader: Ross Monaghan, AgResearch senior scientist and Dawn Dalley, DairyNZ senior scientist
Project goal: To investigate ways dairy farmers in the region can manage soils, animals and forage crops during the challenging shoulder and winter seasons, so they optimise their business and reduce environmental footprint.
Project details: The project included two 110 cow farmlets, plus a 385 cow control herd. One farmlet treatment was managed more traditionally, using winter crop feeding while the other involved the use of and off paddock facility for indoor wintering.
Environmental targets set for the project were achieved. Averaged across the 3-year monitoring period, estimated whole-system N and P losses were reduced by > 24%, while sediment losses were reduced even further. Operating profits were not increased, however, and milk solids production from the treatment farmlets was 2-3% less than for the control.
Telford field day handouts
The field trail phase of the P21 research project based at Telford has been completed. In July 2015 interim results were presented to the local community on site at Telford and can be downloaded below: