DairyNZ senior scientist Dr Dawn Dalley will be presenting a regional science session at the Forum where she, alongside Southern Dairy Hub (SDH) and AgResearch colleagues, will talk through wintering options and how to undertake damage control for crops affected by the recent floods.
“Local research trials into fodder beet and kale crops will be shared with farmers at the forum, to guide new ways to look at wintering,” says Dr Dalley. “The Southern Dairy Hub hosts this research, which enables farmers to follow the trials and implement solutions on their farms.
“Current work is looking at crop and nitrogen (N) fertiliser options that reduce N surplus and, therefore, nitrate leaching. The trials are also showing that less N is leached from a winter fodder beet crop than kale, however there may be trade-offs for animal performance, soil quality and profit.
“The research is also looking at the winter diet’s impact on heifer replacements from birth and is producing some interesting results.”
The DairyNZ Farmers’ Forum is being held on Tuesday, March 3, at the Southern Dairy Hub. It is one of five nationwide during February/March and will also host celebrity chef Nadia Lim, economist Cameron Bagrie and DairyNZ chief executive Dr Tim Mackle.
Dr Dalley says the regional science session’s wintering focus is timely as farmers prepare for winter and also work through feed options following Southland’s recent flood event.
“Many farmers will have been cleaning up following the flood which damaged not only farms, but winter crops and supplement,” said Dr Dalley. “So farmers are now looking at getting their winter feed plan back on track – our general advice is to redo your winter feed budget with realistic revised crop yields, work with technical field reps to maximise crop yields in the time remaining, and consider strategies to increase body condition score over autumn rather than winter, to reduce feed demand during winter.
“We will talk about what SDH is doing to manage its winter feed situation, in light of the floods impacting 50 percent of its winter crop paddocks.”
The Winter Grazing Taskforce recommendations will also be discussed and how farmers can adapt to the proposed changes.
“Wintering animals on crops is an important tool for farmers and, done well, good outcomes for both animals and the environment can be achieved. We are working closely with farmers and partners on good practice management and what can be done at each step along the way, to ensure wintering goes well.”
The DairyNZ Farmers’ Forum is free for DairyNZ levy payers and their staff. For more information and to register, visit www.dairynz.co.nz/farmersforum. The forum is held 9.30am-3.30pm.
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