Future Farming Systems Trial Outline


This is an exciting new 4 year farm systems trial starting 1 June 2021, comparing three farm systems that adapt to or mitigate climate change effects.

Farmers are frustrated at poor performance of ryegrass in warm dry conditions and are increasingly looking at pasture species that may be more persistent. We do not know what the milk production or management challenges of these alternate species are when they cover more than 70% of the farm.

Farmers are also considering how they will meet the proposed Government GHG targets in the future. They are concerned at the financial sustainability of the future systems, and the effects of lowering stocking rate and N input on kikuyu pastures.  Our emissions will be based on 2050 Government targets.


The three new farm systems will be:

1. Current Farm

Our most profitable and resilient system from the previous systems trial – the old PKE Only farm.

Input system 3-4, representative of many farms.

Ryegrass/kikuyu pasture, 3.1 cows/ha, up to 190kgN/ha, PKE used to fill feed deficits


2. Alternate Pastures Farm

Over 75% of farm in alternate species – tall fescue, cocksfoot, legumes and herbs.

3.1 cows/ha, up to 190kgN/ha, PKE used to fill feed deficits


3. Low Emissions Farm

Existing ryegrass/kikuyu pasture, targeting 25% reduction in methane and

50% reduction in nitrous oxide emissions (compared to current farm)

2.1 cows/ha, no N application, low or no imported feed.


Pasture and milk production and milk composition differences will all be monitored. Differences in labour input and management difficulty will also be captured. Most importantly, differences in farm profitability will be captured and compared each season.  Four years should give us a range of climatic conditions to test the resilience of these systems.

Fortnightly updates will be published on this website, on Facebook, and via email.

If you wish to receive the email updates, register at info@nddt.nz

Click here for a printable Trial Summary

Future Farming Systems Trial Outline