DTT Waimate West

Farm Data

  • 34 effective ha.
  • 40 x 0.86 ha paddocks
  • North of Manaia
  • 1140 mm rainfall
  • 90masl

Background

Similar to WTARS Kavanagh re autumn calving. The Waimate West Demonstration farm has conducted extensive cropping programs over the past 6 seasons with spring calving Jersey cows. The aim has been to demonstrate the ability to eliminate reliance on imported feed and grow all supplements on farm. Production advantage to the cropping farmlet has been around 300 kg MS/ha with profitability being payout dependent. The current demonstration is with 1 herd and cropping of maize silage and chicory but has no control comparison.

Trial Design

The paddocks of the farm have been randomised into two farmlets with a stocking rate of 3.47 jersey cows/ha and are balanced in terms of Olsen P, Soil K, effluent application, cropping and regrassing history and location. 20% of the diverse farmlet has initially been planted in a diverse multi species pasture mix, with the rest of the farmlet to be gradually re-sown in diverse pastures over the remainder of the trial.

The diverse pasture mix currently includes:
Maxsyn perennial ryegrass
Safin superfine cocksfoot
Rohan perennial ryegrass
Timothy
Bareno pasture brome
Tabu+Italian ryegrass
Kotuku white clover
Weka white clover
Morrow red clover
Laser persian clover
Coolamon sub clover
Chicory
Captain plantain

This trial will test evidence for any links that diverse pastures might have to enhanced soil health, improved soil carbon and improved soil biodiversity as well as a reduction of N loss and reduction of GHG emissions. It will test the impact of diverse pastures on profitability and production as well as on social and wellbeing outcomes. Finally we will be testing the milk composition and sensory traits to test claims of improved health benefits.

Measurements

  • Milk production from 4 weekly herd tests + vat measurements. Milk can be stored and collected from 2 separate vats & 2 supply numbers via Fonterra.
  • Monthly human health milk sampling. Milk will be tested for Omega 3, 6, CLA and macro nutrients
  • Pasture growth from calibrated weekly visual estimation of all paddocks (2 weekly in winter)
  • Pre and post herbage mass measurements and estimated cow intakes
  • Botanical composition analysis
  • Soil carbon, nitrogen and physical properties
  • Supplements harvested and fed (separate for each farmlet), supplements purchased (amount and cost)
  • Nitrogen leaching measurements (lysimeters and suction cups)
  • 4 weekly cow Liveweight and condition score
  • All animal health and cow fertility events

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