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OUR WORK

Here you'll find an introduction to the current trial in addition to comprehensive details of the major trials that NDDT and NARF have undertaken over the last twenty years.

Please email us via this website for ideas for further research. We welcome all comments.

See below for details of
- Kikuyu Trial
- Gibberellic Trial
- Mastitis Trial
- Split Calving Trial

PUBLICATIONS

For copies of papers presented at field days and conferences click here

TRIALS

REDUCING RELIANCE ON IMPORTED FEED 2015-present

Northland farmers have clearly identified that they would like to reduce their reliance on imported feed, and need to know the financial implications of this.

This 3 year trial began in June 2015 and addresses the following issues:
  • Can Northland dairy farms maintain production and profit with reduced imported feed
  • How do we replace imported feed with extra forage grown on farm
  • How do we manage climate variation with reduced reliance on imported feed
There are three farmlets of 28ha each capturing physical and financial information about the farming systems:
PKE Farmlet 20 – 30% of feed imported, primarily as PKE.
Cropping Farmlet All feed grown on farm including a range of forage crops such as maize, turnips, fodder beet.
Grass only Farmlet Baseline production and profit to evaluate the impact of supplement use and cropping within farmlets 1 & 2. No imported feed or cropping.

KIKUYU TRIAL

This trial at NARF compared a kikuyu based farmlet with a ryegrass farmlet for profitability under best practice. The kikuyu was mulched and undersown with Italian rye in autumn, effectively transitioning the pasture to ryegrass each spring. Supplements were fed in order to maximise profit on both farmlets. Over a three year period and with a range of climatic conditions the trial showed that well-managed kikuyu can give similar profit per hectare as rye-based pastures.

This would suggest that efforts should be focussed on managing kikuyu well rather than eradicating large areas of kikuyu. Download the 2 page summary or the full report below

KIKUYU MANAGEMENT GUIDE

Download the farmer guide to managing kikuyu. This general guide has been developed by NDDT and DairyNZ. Farmers should note that optimal management techniques may vary between farms.

GIBBERELLIC TRIAL 2015

Up to three applications of Gibberellic Acid (Gibb) on ryegrass plots in July to September gave good immediate pasture responses of 400 - 600 kgDM/ha. However most of this additional pasture was lost afterwards due to "post-Gibb depression." Repeat applications of Gibb delayed this depression in pasture growth.

This is consistent with other trial work, showing that Gibb is a useful tool for bringing pasture growth forward in early spring but does not increase overall DM production, and there can be a significant reduction in pasture growth following the last application.

MASTITIS TRIAL 2010

There have been many studies looking at the effects of teat spraying (TS) and dry cow therapy (DCT) as single treatments.

This trial was unique in the way it measured how a combination of teat-spraying and whole herd DCT affect clinical mastitis and production in a pasture-based herd.

TS lowered the number of mastitis infections but there was no effect on production of either TS or DCT over the two seasons.

SPLIT CALVING TRIAL 1997-2000

This 3 year trial at NARF compared all autumn calving with spring calving. The farm has very wet soils and was a real test for winter milking, but the trial showed that a high level of pasture management was more critical to the success of winter milking than soil type.

The autumn calving cows had longer lactations and higher production per cow than spring calvers but the lower stocking rate caused slightly lower production per ha.



Profitability of the autumn calving farm was driven by the size of the winter milk premium and the cost of imported supplements.

The results showed the premium for May to July at the time needed to be 90 cents/kg milksolids for autumn calving to be as profitable as spring calving, and the Northland Dairy Company used this information to set their winter milk contracts.