Ways of reducing nitrate leaching will be discussed at the
Lincoln University dairy farm next week. '
'Profitable or compromised'' is the theme for the farm's
autumn focus day on Thursday, May 8. Farmers are being asked:
''What will it take for LUDF to achieve further reductions in
nitrate leaching losses?''
One option was early autumn culling and whether this was an
easy and profitable solution to reduce nitrogen losses.
In planning for the 2014-15 year, farm management will also
ask whether ''grain, concrete or something else'' is the way
Farming profitably within a nitrogen limit has been the
farm's aim. In May 2011, farm management announced a
five-year vision ''to maximise sustainable profit embracing
the whole farm system''.
This was to be achieved through ''increasing productivity
without increasing the farm's total environmental footprint,
while operating within definable and acceptable animal
At the farm's summer focus day, held in February, AgResearch
scientist Samuel Dennis reported back on a study on the farm
that showed there was little advantage in applying extra
nitrogen to increase pasture production.
Mr Dennis hoped this research would help farm management meet
the target of lowering the farm's environmental footprint,
while maintaining profit levels.
The farm's management decided to reduce the application rate
of nitrogen to 25kgN/ha last season after eco-N was removed
from the market, because of traces of dicyandiamide found in
milk. Eco-N had been the farm's primary tool for combating
South Island Dairy Development Centre executive director Ron
Pellow told farmers at February's focus day he did not see
buying in more supplements as a viable option, but said it
was an issue farm management would need to consider.
Lincoln University dairy farm's autumn focus day will be held
at the farm on the corner of Shands and Ellesmere Junction
Rds, on Thursday, May 8, from 10.15am to 1pm, followed by a
light lunch sponsored by Lincoln University.