DTT Gibson

The property is perfectly suited for farmlet comparisons with 72 x 1 ha paddocks and infrastructure to support multiple herds.

Dairy Trust Taranaki (DTT) has partnered with DairyNZ to run a Step Change program to create change on Taranaki Dairy Farms with respect to increased profit, lower Methane output and lower N surplus.

Farm Data

  • Coastal South Hawera
  • 110 effective ha
  • 72 x 1 ha paddocks
  • Annual rainfall 1300 mm
  • 100 metres above sea level


Farmers face major challenges to their farming systems through the introduction of the Essential Freshwater Accord and the Zero Carbon Bill.

The purpose of Project Step change is to help all dairy farmers over the next 5 years focus on increasing profit and reducing environmental footprint (GHG and water quality). There are two components of the step change program in Taranaki – a farmlet study and a partner farm network.

Trial Design

The farmlet comparison at Dairy Trust Taranaki (DTT) will have two farmlets, one based on current farming practices, and the other expected to achieve reduced GHG emissions and N surplus targets likely to be required as proposed by the Zero Carbon Bill and Essential Freshwater Accord.

The current system will be based on previous farmlet research conducted at the DTT   Gibson farm, a stocking rate of 3.1 Friesian cows/ha, 190 kg Nitrogen applied/ha and 700 kg DM/cow imported feed.

The contrasting Step Change farmlet for Gibson was modelled using Farmax and Overseer and will operate a lower stocking rate (2.5 cows/ha), with reduced N fertiliser (75 kg N/ha) and imported feed (300 kg DM/cow).


Measurements will include biophysical data (e.g. feed – pasture, crops and supplementary feed; milk production, cow health and reproduction, and impact on staff), a full financial analysis of both farmlets, and monitoring of soil carbon levels and annual Overseer Nutrient budgets.   The models indicate that reduced stocking rate, nitrogen and supplement use will reduce  total GHG emissions by 33% and N loss to water by 42% (47 kg N/ha loss to 27 kg N/ha).  The challenge will be to achieve these targets whilst maintaining a similar profit to the current farmlet.

Partner Farms

Five partner farms will be identified by DairyNZ Consulting service in Taranaki to cover the geographic spread of farms in the province.  These farmers will be provided resources & support to make changes that move their systems towards improving N loss, reducing GHG emissions while maintaining or improving their financial performance.  They will also be willing to share their experiences with other farmers through events on their farm and at the DTT farmlet comparison sites, which potentially includes Stratford demonstration farm and other DTT farms where its anticipated other relevant research work will be carried out.

Field Day Booklets

Get the research that local dairy farmers want

Sign up to receive weekly farm walk notes