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Nitrogen Modelling Wins Scientist Kudos

22 October 2009


Nitrogen Modelling Wins Scientist Kudos

Agricultural Scientist Dr Stewart Ledgard of AgResearch took out the Agricultural Science Award at the Kudos Awards this month for his research and development of the Overseer model, a model that monitors nitrogen levels in pasture and nitrogen leaching into waterways.

The term “leaching” means the movement of Nitrogen in drainage water down through the soil, below root zone, which can eventually enter groundwater or surface waters such as streams and lakes. “The major contributor to nitrogen leaching was found to be from animal urine,” says Dr Ledgard.

“The Overseer model focuses on discovering and highlighting to farmers the potential benefits of different management practices and mitigation options – not just with greenhouse gas emissions but also with water quality – our work is about looking for multiple gains,” says Ledgard.

A couple of years ago, greenhouse gas efficiency had become a major issue for New Zealand farmers, the issue is still here, but work conducted by Stewart and his team at AgResearch is helping to drive down greenhouse gas emissions.

Dr Ledgard continues to speak at International conferences about his work and the ongoing developments of the Overseer model.

The Agricultural Science award is sponsored by the Hamilton City Council and recognises a major, recent contribution to a novel tool, process or technology that will have a positive impact on agricultural profitability or agricultural sustainability.

The Kudos Awards celebrates the Waikato region’s most exciting science discoveries over seven award categories including medical, agricultural, environmental, science educator, emerging scientist, entrepreneurial science and lifetime achievement.

The cash prizes are used by the scientists to advance their work in the Waikato region and are sponsored by the Waikato District Health Board, Hamilton City Council, Environment Waikato, WINTEC, Calder and Lawson House of Travel and the University of Waikato.

To find out more about the Kudos Awards and view a full list of winners go to


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