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Hunt for great dairy pastures is on again

Hunt for great dairy pastures is on again

The hunt is on for great dairy pastures in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty.

Entries are now open for the Pasture Renewal Persistence Competition run by the DairyNZ-led Pasture Improvement Leadership Group.
Competition organiser and DairyNZ developer Sally Peel says pasture renewal is one of the first steps to achieving high performing pastures. Improving poor yielding paddocks through good renewal practices can achieve substantial increase in pasture tonnage.

The competition has been running for five years with winners from all across the two regions.
Robert Garshaw of Waiuku won the 2014 best first year pasture. "Decisions such as cultivar and endophyte choice do matter. It's really important to figure out what works well out of your farm and make the most of the establishment period," says Robert.
James Booker from Morrinsville won the 2014 best three plus (3+) year pasture for his knowledge of the process, his grazing management and his use of the forage value index in his current decision making.
Consecutive summer droughts have been a serious challenge for pasture persistence; despite this pastures have generally recovered well. "We're keen to discover what farmers did to manage their pasture and pasture renewal so well during the past three years of dry summers," says Sally.

"We will also be looking for any other information that will help build a picture of the management practices required for persistence of renewed pastures in this environment."

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Farmers can enter in two categories - Waikato/Bay of Plenty first year pasture sown this year and Waikato/Bay of Plenty pasture sown more than three years ago (before May 2012). Up for grabs are two pasture renewal prize packages. The prizes are provided by Agriseeds and Agricom.

Judging will involve a short interview about the soil fertility and the paddock's history prior to and since re-sowing. Management practices such as grazing management, endophyte selection, weed control, and nitrogen usage will be discussed.

Entries are open until 24 October with judging held during November. Winners' field days will be held early December 2015.

The Pasture Renewal Persistence Competition is an initiative of the Pasture Improvement Leadership Group. This is a DairyNZ-led industry group, including researchers, the seed industry, farmers and agricultural contractors, formed to develop better tools, resources and advice for farmers.

For more information on the competition or to receive an entry form, call the DairyNZ Farmer Information Service on 0800 4 DAIRYNZ (0800 4 324 7969) or register online atwww.dairynz.co.nz/pasture-comp.


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