Competition organiser and DairyNZ farm systems specialist Chris Glassey says consecutive summer droughts in 2013 and 2014 were a serious challenge for pastures. Despite this pastures have generally recovered well. This may have involved some extra expense and careful management so we can't downplay the stress that drought is bringing to pastures and pasture managers.
"We're keen to discover what farmers did to manage their pasture and pasture renewal so well during the past two years," says Chris.
Farmers can enter in two categories; best Waikato/BOP first year pasture sown this year and best Waikato/BOP pasture sown more than three years ago (2011). Up for grabs are two $1500 pasture renewal prize packages. The prizes are provided by Agriseeds, Agricom and Farmlands.
The Pasture Renewal Persistence Competition is an initiative of the Pasture Improvement Leadership Group; a DairyNZ-led industry group, including researchers, the seed industry, farmers and agricultural contractors, formed to develop better tools, resources and advice for farmers.
"The competition is part of the Pasture Improvements Leadership Group's role of ensuring that farmers receive consistent, timely messages on pasture persistence and renewal from throughout the industry", says Chris.
Judging will involve a short interview about the soil fertility and the paddock's history prior to and since re-sowing. Management practices such as grazing management, endophyte selection, weed control, and nitrogen use will be discussed.
"We will also be looking for any other information that will help build a picture of the best management practice required for persistence of renewed pastures in this environment," says Chris.
Entries are open until 25 November with judging held during December. Winners' field days will be held early February, 2015.
For more information on the competition or to receive an entry form, call the DairyNZ Farmer Information Service on 0800 4 DAIRYNZ (0800 4 324 7969) or register online at www.dairynz.co.nz/pasture-comp.
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