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Southland Demo Farm water data starts to stream

30th May 2012

Southland Demo Farm water data starts to stream

After a successful installation of some innovative new testing technology, continuous real time information on the Southland Demonstration Farm’s (SDF) stream is now flowing in.

Specially-adapted sensors monitor nitrate concentrations in the SDF’s 2.25 km stretch of the Tomoporakau stream. “We can check the difference between the entry point and the exit point at the farm’s boundary and see how much impact the dairy farm is actually having on a key feature of the environment,” said Professor Keith Cameron head of Lincoln University’s Centre for Soil and Environmental Research.

Installing the technology to make actual nitrate tracking real time and visible has been a challenge for the Lincoln University technical team who developed the new system. “Nigel Beale and Neil Smith from Lincoln have done a fine job setting all this up from scratch,” added Keith.

The Ravensdown-funded research project on the 295ha dairy farm will provide important results to help achieve sustainable production and minimise the environmental footprint of dairying. “The support from Ravensdown and especially from CEO Rodney Green, who was the driving force behind bringing it together, has been pivotal. Professor Hong Di and I are very grateful for this support.”

“All the testing equipment is now capturing continuous flows of data 24 hours a day. Over time, this will be an amazing science resource for researchers wanting to study the effects of a high performance dairy farm on its environment,” concluded Keith.

Southland Demonstration Farm is on target to produce 305,000kg MS this year from a peak of 754 cows with 250 kg N/ha and Ravensdown’s nitrification inhibitor eco-n being used across the whole milking platform.

About Ravensdown
Ravensdown supplies close to half of New Zealand’s agriculture fertiliser and has fertiliser operations in Australia. Ravensdown is 100% owned by farmers, providing them with sound technical advice and a comprehensive range of key farming inputs, all at the lowest sustainable cost.


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