Innovation in action
5 September 2018
Over the last decade, DairyNZ has been developing innovative yet practical solutions to meet the sector’s new requirements, address existing problems and improve farmers’ businessess. Here’s how.
Lower environmental footprint
Pastoral 21 (P21) and Forages for Reduced Nitrate Leaching (FRNL) have achieved a reduction in nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment loss to waterways across all dairying regions. Managing nitrogen inputs and time off-pasture, better management of winter crops and increasingly diverse pastures are all showing real benefits.
Clarity on crops
The role of crops on milking platforms or support land to increase total feed supply or fill seasonal deficits has been widely researched. Managing animal health and reducing nitrogen loss have been a focus for fodder beet. Ftting maize and chicory into farm systems has been studied in Taranaki and Northland.
More fertile cows
Getting cows in calf every year easily and reliably is vital for pastoral dairying. Recent work has focused on the key management interventions to achieve this, and genetics research has shown the importance of breeding the right cows. Changes to the data collected for Breeding Worth (BW) will be the key to getting cows with better inherent fertility.
Less time milking
Research into robotic milking systems, once-a-day (OAD) milking for all or part of the season and MaxT solutions have decreased time in the shed, giving farmers confidence that a wide range of options work for New Zealand cows, people, and systems.
Breeding better pastures is key to underpinning profit and making farms more self-sufficient for feed. New gene technology approaches, including genomic selection, hybridisation and genetic modification (GM), have produced ryegrass plants with the potential to increase pasture production and reduce environmental impacts. Assessing the performance of these plants and linking them to our Forage Value Index is a priority over the next five years.
The economics of supplement use is a continuing debate. Research has provided clear decision rules for profitable use throughout the year including for Body Condition Score (BCS) management.
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