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


Welcome Home: Record High Migration Stokes 41-Year High Population Growth

New Zealand annual net migration hit a new high in October as more people arrived from than departed for Australia for the first time in more than 20 years. More>>


Citizens' Advice Bureau: Report Shows Desperate Housing Situation Throughout NZ

CAB's in-depth analysis of over 2000 client enquiries about emergency accommodation shows vulnerable families, pregnant women and children living in cars and garages, even after seeking assistance from the Ministry of Social Development and Housing New Zealand. More>>


Speaking For The Bees: Greens Call For Neonicotinoid Pesticide Ban

The National Government should ban the use of controversial pesticides called neonicotinoids after evidence has revealed that even at low doses they cause harm to bee populations, the Green Party said today. More>>


Science Awards: NZAS Celebrate NZ Scientific Achievements

The Marsden Medal is awarded for a lifetime of outstanding service to the cause or profession of science, in recognition of service rendered to the cause or profession of science in the widest connotation of the phrase. This year’s medal is awarded to Dr Mike Andrews. More>>


Court Rules: Affco 'Unlawfully' Locked Out Meat Workers

The note says the full court found for the plaintiffs, "that is that the defendant locked out the second plaintiffs unlawfully and that it breached s 32 of the Act by acting otherwise than in good faith towards the plaintiffs while collective bargaining was still going on." More>>


New Bill Introduced: GST On Online Services

These measures are an important first step in the Government’s efforts to deal with increasing volumes of online services and other intangibles purchased from overseas suppliers that should, under New Zealand’s tax rules, be subject to GST. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news