Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Trial suggests winter management can cut runoff losses


Trial suggests winter management can cut runoff losses

An AgResearch study in South Otago has indicated that simple and low cost management techniques can significantly reduce overland flow and contaminant losses from winter forage crop paddocks.

With the growth of dairy farming in Otago and Southland, there has been a corresponding increase in environmental concerns, particularly regarding nutrient loss, faecal microbes and sediment to waterways.

Winter forage grazing paddocks are believed to contribute a disproportionately large part of annual farm nutrient and sediment losses as a result of intensive stock grazing on soils with high moisture content.

The Dairy NZ-funded paired catchment study, which is part of the Pastoral 21 programme, was led by AgResearch Invermay-based Senior Scientist Ross Monaghan.

The study was established at Telford Dairy Farm, just outside Balclutha. It has been investigating the effect of grazing strategy on overland flow and water quality when paddock soil type, topography, drainage and stock management were taken into account.

It was thought that strategic grazing of cows in a winter forage crop paddock could reduce overland flow and thus sediment and nutrient losses.

In the test two different types of management were used. There was a control group, with cows starting at the bottom of the hill and then strip grazing up the hill. There was no backfencing and the stream was unfenced and unprotected.

In the treatment catchment the cows enter at the top of the paddock, then strip graze in a downward direction. There was protection of the stream, back-fencing every four to five days, and finally restricted grazing of the area surrounding the stream if conditions were suitable, effectively offering the ‘last bite’ of winter when conditions allow.

Ross Monaghan says the trial has shown that strategic grazing of dairy winter forage paddocks can considerably reduce volumes of overland flow.

“By reducing overland flow, the yields of sediment and nutrients carried in the flow were also reduced considerably,” he says.

“The strategic grazing method was a combination of protecting the critical source area (CSA) from stock by fencing, and grazing the least risky areas first and grazing towards the higher risk areas. This effectively left the most vulnerable areas with minimal soil damage for as long as possible throughout the winter season.

“Protection of the CSA, gullies and areas prone to soil saturation is a key part to reducing overland flow and sediment loss. Grazing the CSA can still occur, but only when soil conditions allow. These grazing managements are relatively simple to implement and low cost.”

The trial is continuing in 2013, with the paddocks being swapped to see if the differences between the control and treatment grazing strategies continue to be seen.

This research is funded as part of the Pastoral 21 programme, a collaborative venture between DairyNZ, Fonterra, Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand, Beef + Lamb New Zealand and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

About AgResearch: AgResearch is New Zealand's largest Crown Research Institute and supports the country’s pastoral sector through scientific research and innovation.

Our purpose is to enhance the value, productivity and profitability of New Zealand's pastoral, agri-food and agri-technology sector value-chains to contribute to economic growth and beneficial environmental and social outcomes for the country. We do this by partnering with the pastoral sector to identify the innovation that is needed and deliver our collective expertise to create value for New Zealand.
ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Prefu Roundup: Forecasts Revised, Surplus Intact

The National government heads into the election with its Budget surplus target broadly intact, delivering a set of economic and fiscal forecasts marginally revised from May to reflect weaker commodity prices and a lower tax take. More>>

ALSO:

Convention Centre: Major New SkyCity Hotel And Laneway For Auckland

Today SKYCITY Entertainment Group Limited revealed plans to build a new hotel and pedestrian laneway of bars, restaurants and boutique shopping on land it owns in the Nelson and Hobson Streets block, expanding the SKYCITY Entertainment Precinct. More>>

ALSO:

Igniting The Spark: Bringing The Digital Enabler To Life

Changing a name is, relatively speaking, the easy part of a re-invention. Changing a culture, getting all the ducks in a row, turning yourself inside-out to become customer-inspired is a much bigger challenge. More>>

ALSO:

Ebola And NZ: Targeted Screening At Airport But Risk Low

The risk of any cases of Ebola in New Zealand remains very low, but health and border authorities are well prepared... anyone arriving in New Zealand who in the last three weeks has visited countries affected will be screened for symptoms of the disease. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Brewer Seeking Crowd-Funding Cancels Shareholders’ Dividends

Shareholders in Renaissance Brewing company, the first business to seek equity through crowd-funding in New Zealand, have cancelled their claim on $147,000 of accumulated earnings “to make Renaissance a more attractive investment opportunity.” More>>

ALSO:

It's Spark Now:
Why Telecom Wanted To Change

New Zealand led the world when Chorus demerged from Telecom. It gave us a telecommunications industry structure where the network is completely separated from the products and services it delivers. The changes brought about a new market dynamic and it dramatically changed Telecom’s role. More>>

ALSO:

Glass Half Empty: Dairy Prices Fall To Lowest Since 2012

Dairy product prices slumped to the lowest level since October 2012 in the latest GlobalDairyTrade auction, paced by whole milk powder and cheddar. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Computer Power Plus

Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news