Nutrient management on the Lincoln University dairy farm: "nutrient budgeting for efficient production"
Nutrient management plays an important role in any dairy farming system. Soil fertility status and fertiliser inputs are key drivers of pasture and animal production, whilst fertiliser represents a significant annual cost to the farm. At the same time, intensive agricultural systems also face the challenge of minimising or reducing nutrient loss in order to maintain environmental quality. Therefore 'best practice' may involve nutrient management in terms of balancing production, economic, environmental and efficiency goals. With ever increasing regulation and compliance requirements for the New Zealand farmer, best practice nutrient management will play an increasingly important role in achieving long term sustainability of the farming system. This paper gives an overview of the use of nutrient budgeting as a method of effective and efficient on-farm nutrient management. The paper will focus on nutrient management on the Lincoln University Dairy Farm (LUDF), including soil fertility monitoring and targets, the decision making process and the use of the nutrient budget output. Aspects of environmental research on the LUDF will also be discussed, including the quantification of nitrogen (N) losses, and results from research into nitrogen loss mitigation technology (eco-n nitrification inhibitor).... [Show full abstract]