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Soil Research Provides Boost To Farming Profitability And Practices In New Zealand

Wednesday, 13 February 2002


Increased farm production and the promotion of sustainable farming practices in New Zealand are likely to be given a boost following a gathering of soil and fertiliser scientists in Palmerston North this week. The presentation of results from numerous studies will provide new information on how to minimise environmental impacts while increasing production levels.

Says Dr. Hilton Furness, Technical Director of Fert Research; “Maximising production is key to farmers’ profitability and the latest soil research being presented here aims to do that. The research findings will also give us more information on how to protect New Zealand’s clean green environment. During the past decade farmers have continued to adopt new practices which minimise environmental impacts. This includes the use of tools such as the Nutrient Budgeting model, Overseer™ and Fert Research’s Code of Practice for Fertiliser Use. Findings from the research presented at this conference will further enhance these practices.”

Of particular note are the following presentations:

  • Keith Cameron – “Research to Sustain the Environmental Integrity of South Island Irrigated Dairy Farms”
    Research findings presented for irrigated dairy farms, providing recommendations for farmers to avoid nitrate drainage into waterways.
  • David Chadwick & Stuart Ledgard – “Comparing N Flows and Losses in UK and NZ Dairy Farms as a Result of Potential Changes to Housing-Grazing Management”
    Looking at local research, including methods to increase N efficiency and reduce leaching losses, such as stand-off pads and other strategic winter management practices.
  • Cameron Gourley “Changing our Approach to Nutrient Management for an Expanding Dairy Industry”
    Research advocating refined nutrient management systems that define optimum soil test targets and soil loss factors, such as fixation and leaching, as well as dealing with the uneven distribution of nutrients on the farm.
  • Keith Betteridge - “Cattle Treading on Wet Soils: Implications for Pasture Growth and Soil Physical Condition”
    Research that aims to address productivity loss through poor soil conditions, minimise fertiliser overuse and waste, and provide strategies for farmers to manage cattle grazing effectively, particularly on wet pasture.

With New Zealand’s agricultural products in world demand, our clean green image is one we continue to rely on. So farmers are taking the responsibility of protecting the land, while still maintaining its productivity, very seriously.

Dr Hilton Furness, Technical Director of Fert Research says; “Researchers and farmers are increasingly finding they need to work together to produce research outcomes that meet farming needs, are easily implemented and create real gains for local agriculture. This conference is leading us closer to achieving major gains in the area of dairy farming.”

Conference Details

The Dairy Farm Soils Management Conference is being held at Massey University in Palmerston North from February 13-14th, and is organised by the Fertilizer and Lime Research Centre, Massey University and The New Zealand Fertiliser Manufacturers’ Research Association (Fert Research).

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