When research results from the programme become available, they will be published here.
Crop and pasture management
Small plot trial shows practicality of transplanting fodder beet
A small plot trial has proven the practicality of transplanting fodder beet seedlings on a small scale.
The trial, which used techniques from the vegetable industry, found transplanted plants had significantly faster canopy closure than seed drilled plants.
However, it currently costs double the price.
The trial, showed transplanting beet is practically doable with early canopy closure resulting in one less herbicide application and the potential for good yields. The downside is that at present transplanting would cost double that of drilling fodder beet.
Transplanting fodder beet (Summary)
Winter growth and quality of fodder beet
The use of fodder beet as a late winter/early spring feed is now common, as a low-cost supplementary feed. However, there is little information on the nutritional value of fodder beet being grazed late winter/early Spring.
A plot trial at Lincoln in Canterbury quantified changes of dry matter (DM) yield and nutritional composition spring, and looked for differences in yield and nutritional value for monthly sowing dates spanning early September to early December and harvest dates in June and September
Results showed that the DM yield and quality of fodder beet were not affected by extended the growing period over winter and grazing in late winter/early spring.
Health effects of fodder beet diet
The effects of fodder beet diets (low in N) on urinary N excretion and cow performance have been evaluated in late lactation and during the non-lactating period. The results show that, when managed properly, fodder beet can lower animals’ N intakes and urinary N excretion without negatively affecting their health and productivity. Some key findings from the research are:
- A diet of 40 percent fodder beet with autumn saved pasture almost halves the urinary N concentration in a lactating cow.
- Feeding 40 percent or less of DM intake as fodder beet to cows in mid- to late-lactation reduces their risk of acidosis.
- Feeding 70 percent or less of DM intake as fodder beet to non-lactating cows reduces the risk of not meeting their nutritional requirements.
Effect of low N diet on dairy cows (Summary)
Why is it not practical to measure N leaching on farm?
Overseer estimations are being used by regional councils to set farm nutrient loss limits. In response, some farmers are considering measuring the actual N loss from the farm.
Recent modelling results and good research practice indicate that in order to achieve a greater accuracy than Overseer, measurements need to account for variation caused by farm activity, climate and lane.
There are different samplers for measuring N leaching. Each has its own pros and cons. When the pros and cons are combined with the above variability and cost of installing the samplers and the ongoing cost of sampling, Overseer is still the best option we have at present for estimating Nitrate leaching from a whole farm.
Eco-efficient pasture-based systems?
Eco-efficient pasture-based dairy farm systems: a comparison of New Zealand, The Netherlands and Ireland.
Dairy farms in New Zealand, the Netherlands and Ireland have environmental regulations requiring improved nutrient-use efficiency of dairy production systems.
Well managed farms have shown that it is possible to reduce Nitrogen (N) surplus, compared to industry averages, through
N inputs – outputs = N surplus (risk of impacting on the environment)
- synchronising soil and synthetic N supply to plant demand,
- use of catch crops,
- reducing Crude Protein (CP) of diet content,
- restricted grazing in autumn (late lactation) and winter (dry cows), and optimal application regimes for farm dairy effluent,
- use of minimum cultivation when cropping or regrassing on the farm.
This may be sufficient to achieve environmental goals in many regions, but in other regions further reductions in nutrient losses will be required. Further mitigations are needed:
- Multispecies swards containing functionally complementary species (grass, legume and herb)
- Integration of crops in nutrient efficient pasture/crop rotations.
Eco-efficient pasture-based systems (Summary)
Forages for Reduced Nitrate Leaching is a DairyNZ-led collaborative research programme that combines the expertise and resources of DairyNZ, AgResearch, Plant and Food Research, Lincoln University, Foundation for Arable Research and Landcare Research.