Future Farming Trial Update 26 August 2021

This project commenced June 2021. It will compare the productivity, profitability and impact on people and the environment on three farms, being:

  1. Current Farm – Kikuyu & ryegrass based pastures with up to 190 kg N/ha/annum, 3.0 cows/ha
  2. Alternative Pastures Farm – Fescue & cocksfoot based pastures, up to 190 kg N/ha, 3.0 cows/ha
  3. Low Emissions Farm – Kikuyu & ryegrass based pastures, designed to reduce methane emissions by 25% and nitrous oxide by 50%, no nitrogen applied, 2.1 cows/ha

This project is funded by DairyNZ, MPI (Sustainable Farming Fund) and Hine Rangi Trust.

26th August 2021 Current Farm Alternative Pastures Farm Low Emissions Farm
Average Pasture Cover (kg DM/ha) 2204 2143 2113
Pasture Growth (kg DM/ha/d, last 2 weeks) 37 44 31
Rotation Length (days) 51 40 55
Cows in Milk/Peak Cows 69/84 71/84 55/60
Production/cow/day (kg MS) 2.00 2.25 1.73
Production/ha/day (kg MS) 4.46 5.10 2.86
Production/ha/season to date 120 134 80
Milk FEI A/B B A
Supplement Fed (kg DM/cow/day, milkers) 3.3 PKE

3.7 Baleage

3.2 PKE 5.6 Baleage
Purchased Supplement Fed

(kg DM/cow/season to date)

197 102 66
Average Body Condition Score (Milkers) 4.1 4.3 4.2
Worry Score (1 = Low, 10 = High)                   3 2 2
Nitrogen – Season to Date (kg N/ha) 63 67 0
Rainfall (mm last 2 weeks) 23 mm

CURRENT MANAGEMENT

  • Pasture growth has picked up and pasture utilisation is good for this time of year (due to dry soil conditions). This has facilitated a lift in pasture covers
  • Rotation length will continue to be sped up on all farms. Currently aiming for 35 days on the Normal farm, 30 days on the Alternative Pastures farm and 45 days on the Low Emissions farm
  • With the faster rotation we are anticipating supplement use will be reduced on the Current farm and dropped out on the other two farms. Supplement use is determined by grazing residuals
  • A few light conditioned heifers have been put on once-a-day milking to avoid any further condition loss
  • Ammo36 at 100 kg/ha continues behind the herds on the Current and Alternative Pasture farms