DairyNZ Senior Scientist, Pierre Beukes, will share the latest research on how to reduce nitrogen leaching on farm by 40% at the organisation’s Farmers’ Forum events in Greymouth on 12 April and Woodville on 28 May.
Dr Beukes leads a team who have researched a combination of five nitrogen reduction solutions that, when used in combination, can make a major impact on farm.
“When it comes to reducing nitrogen leaching, there is no one silver bullet; it’s a combination of several options that have the greatest effect. We’ve discovered five strategies, in particular, that when used together can create a 40% reduction,” he says.
Pierre says, first off, there are three things farmers can do to reduce their overall nitrogen load: reduce fertiliser use, reduce stocking rates and lower replacement rates. Doing these three things, he says, in the right combination can be a cost-neutral exercise and, in many cases, lead to higher profitability.
“Our research shows just concentrating on these three factors alone can lead to a 20% nitrogen reduction on farm.”
Points four and five of the five-point nitrogen reduction plan both require some investment, says Pierre.
“These include using a stand-off pad in autumn to capture urine and direct it into your effluent pond for spreading on paddocks in the spring, and using a nitrification inhibitor to treat urinary patches in the paddock.
“These two strategies are more costly – estimated to be around $500 per hectare if you implement both.
“But the payoff is that our research shows using a stand-off pad in combination with a nitrification inhibitor can add a further 20% reduction in nitrogen leaching,” he explains.
Although the use of nitrification inhibitors in New Zealand is currently on hold, Dr Beukes said it was his understanding that the current restrictions on nitrification inhibitor usage are likely to be temporary.
Dr Beukes’ presentation is part of the DairyNZ Farmers’ Forum events which are being held in Whangarei, Hawera, Woodville, Invercargill and Greymouth during April and May.
The informative and practical seminars will showcase DairyNZ’s latest research projects. Scientists will speak about their work and, at several events, local farmers will share how they are implementing some of the research on farm.
Each of the Farmers’ Forums events is designed by the local DairyNZ teams to address challenges and opportunities specific to each region.
Farmers can view the programmes and register to attend their local event online at www.dairynz.co.nz/farmersforum.
Registration is essential and free to levy-paying farmers and their staff – there is a $50 charge for all others.
Higher productivity and a reduction in nitrogen leaching ought to be attractive to all farmers.