Dairy hub hits the road

Members of the Southern Dairy Hub team held four meetings last week to update farmers on the property's research and production outcomes. From left are DairyNZ consulting officer Nicole Hammond, consultant Richard Kyte, DairyNZ scientist Dr Dawn Dalley an
Members of the Southern Dairy Hub team held four meetings last week to update farmers on the property's research and production outcomes. From left are DairyNZ consulting officer Nicole Hammond, consultant Richard Kyte, DairyNZ scientist Dr Dawn Dalley and AgResearch science technician Chris Smith, of Woodlands. Photo: Yvonne O'Hara
The Southern Dairy Hub team hosted four road show meetings at Milton, Otautau, Gore and Lumsden last week to update farmers about research and production on the property.

During the Milton road show, consultant Richard Kyte outlined the work the hub did, while Dawn Dalley, of DairyNZ, and Agresearch science technician Chris Smith, of Woodlands, updated the audience on the research projects.

The hub has a milking platform of 309ha, with a 39ha support block.

They run about 800 cows in four herds, wintering on either kale or fodder beet (plus supplements).

Current research projects look at fodder beet versus kale, nutrient-loss reduction and wintering.

They are also researching the feed impact (fodder beet and kale) on milk quality, making fodder beet sustainable for dairy cattle, a Forage Value Index validation trial, as well as the impact of feeding systems on calf characteristics and lifetime performance.

They're also researching nitrate leaching losses from winter forage crops and grazed pastures.

Dr Dalley discussed the impact of wintering stock on standard and low environmental-impact kale crops versus standard or low environmental-impact fodder beet.

Results for the standard and low-impact kale study shows kilograms of milksolids per cow and per hectare were slightly higher than for fodder beet.

There were also slightly lower phosphate and calcium levels from the fodder beet diet compared to kale.

Mr Smith looked at nutrient losses in crop, grazed or lifted paddocks, using 650 ceramic measuring cups buried in the soil this winter.

''However, we are going to use Lincoln University Dairy Farms' linear lysimeters,'' Mr Smith said.

He said each ceramic cup cost $200, and took three days of work to collect the data.

However, the leased linear lysimeters allowed him to go to a website for data to determine how much drainage and leaching was taking place.

Researchers also looked at variable width rather than a set width riparian planting along the property's stream to mitigate run-off generation, depending on the area.

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