Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


Dairy farmers have cost effective “friend in N”

26 February 2013

Dairy farmers have cost effective “friend in N”

With high demand in dry areas edging up the price of supplementary feed, dairy farmers wanting to maintain production into late autumn have got an increasingly cost effective “friend in N”, says Ballance Science Extension Manager Aaron Stafford.

“As a feed source home grown pasture remains your best bang for buck and with supplementary feed prices now averaging $50 a tonne more, farms that are not battling the dry conditions will find N an even more competitive tool for extending autumn lactation and maintaining herd condition.”

Aaron says products like SustaiN Green, which reduces ammonia volatilisation, offer farmers more flexibility to apply nitrogen when it’s needed most or when it suits them better, even if the weather or soil conditions often experienced during autumn are not optimal.

He says the product also stacks up well when it comes to farm budgets by minimising nitrogen losses so farmers can get the most out of their fertiliser investment.

“Taking an average autumn N response of seven kilograms of extra pasture dry matter for every kilogram of N applied, and including $120 per tonne for application and cartage, using SustaiN Green to grow additional pasture means each kilogram of additional dry matter grown costs about 29 cents. A PKE, at 90% dry matter comes in at 35 cents a kilo when the average spot price is $300 a tonne and as these prices rise, N becomes even more competitive.”

Mr Stafford says other alternative supplementary feeds such as maize or cereal silage present a similar picture, usually costing 30-40 cents/kg DM. In addition, without use of a feedpad, high wastage and pasture damage can further reduce the economics of these alternative options.

“With autumn applied N, it is important to get this on earlier rather than later to ensure soil temperature does not limit the size or timeliness of the N response, but as all farmers know, you need to watch the weather if using standard urea. Without rainfall within 24 hours of application ammonia volatilisation losses from standard urea can be significant, in excess of 10-15% of the N applied.”

Ballance-funded studies by AgResearch scientists show that in pastoral conditions, using SustaiN Green instead of urea will result in an average 50% reduction in volatilisation losses. This is in agreement with results from international research.

Other research also supports autumn pasture as a cost effective choice for maintaining herd condition ahead of calving.

“A cow body condition score of 5 at calving should be targeted to maximise milk production, and there are many feed options to achieve this,” says Mr Stafford.

“However, research by DairyNZ has shown that with the exception of high-energy concentrate supplementary feeds, there is little difference between autumn pasture and cereal silage, grain or PKE for increasing rate of gain in cow body condition score leading up to calving, especially when wastage of the later options is taken into account.”


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Oceans: NOAA Declares Third Ever Global Coral Bleaching Event

As record ocean temperatures cause widespread coral bleaching across Hawaii, NOAA scientists confirm the same stressful conditions are expanding to the Caribbean and may last into the new year, prompting the declaration of the third global coral bleaching event ever on record. More>>

Scoop Business: A Decade Of Government Pre-Seed Investment

More publicly-funded science is being commercialised after a decade of government ‘pre-see’d investment, according to an independent review. More>>


Solid Energy: Plan To Shut Unprofitable Huntly East Mine

Solid Energy, the state-owned coal miner in voluntary administration, plans to shut down its unprofitable Huntly East mine and lay off 65 staff after deciding the site stands "no chance whatsoever" of finding a buyer. More>>


E Tū: Merger Creates NZ's Biggest Private Sector Union

E tū has been created by the merger of the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union and Service and Food Workers’ Union. It represents more than 50,000 working New Zealanders in industries as diverse as aviation, construction, journalism, food manufacturing, mining and cleaning. More>>


Internet: NZ Govt Lifts Target Speeds For Rural Broadband

The government has lifted its expectations on faster broadband speeds for rural New Zealand as it targets increased spending on research and development in the country's information and communications technology sector, which it sees as a key driver for export growth. More>>


Banks: Westpac Keeps Core Government Transactions Contract

The local arm of Westpac Banking Corp has kept its contract with the New Zealand government to provide core transactions, but will have to share peripheral services with its rivals. More>>


Science Investment Plan: Universities Welcome Statement

Universities New Zealand has welcomed the National Statement of Science Investment released by the Government today... this is a critical document as it sets out the Government’s ten-year strategic direction that will guide future investment in New Zealand’s science system. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news