More Profit from Nitrogen – Dairy

More Profit from Nitrogen (MPfN): enhancing the nitrogen use efficiency of intensive cropping and pasture systems is a four year partnership between Australia’s four major intensive users of nitrogenous fertilisers: cotton, dairy, sugar and horticulture. For each of these industries, nitrogen (N) is a significant input cost to farmers and a substantial contributor to environmental footprints. Collectively, the Program aims to bring about increased farm profitability and reduced environmental impact by increasing nitrogen use efficiency (NUE), resulting in a reduction of the amount of N required in producing each unit of product.

There are 10 projects being delivered under the umbrella of the MPfN Program involving thirty-one collaborating organisations. Research activities encompass both field and laboratory based work to explore ways to optimise NUE through:

• Efficient irrigation practices
• Managing N fertiliser with consideration of soil mineralisation factors
• Enhanced Efficiency Fertilisers (EEFs)
• Developing new N fertiliser products and optimising existing products through blending
• Testing and developing industry N Best Management Practices (BMPs)

Find out more about the MPfN by visiting the program website here.

This project is supported by funding from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources as part of its Rural R&D for Profit programme.

Three dairy research projects are being conducted as a part of this nationally significant Programme. Updates on progress and extension activities of these can be explored below.

 

Increasing nitrogen use efficiency in dairy pastures
Led by Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and assisted by the NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI), this project is testing and validating NUE, together with Water Use Efficiency (WUE) improvement practices determined through previous research, to have the greatest potential to reduce the carbon footprint and increase the productivity and profitability of Australian dairy farms.  The core trial sites are located at Casino (QUT) and Camden (NSW DPI) in NSW where variable rate irrigation, intensive soil moisture monitoring equipment and automated chambers are in place to undertake the study. The research will:

  • Investigate the interactions between nitrogen, mineralisation and irrigation management and develop best management practices (BMP).
  • Increase industry understanding of N losses, particularly from denitrification, and the potential for precision irrigation management to optimise NUE and WUE.
  • Develop efficient strategies for reducing denitrification and total soil N losses and optimise synthetic fertiliser inputs.
  • Produce recommendations for farmers detailing the optimal application timing and rates of EEFs based on prevailing and predicted climatic conditions.

Click on the link to download a copy of the Information Sheet on this project (QUTDairy)

Project Activities & Events

Small improvements in nitrogen management can provide improve pasture productivity and profit. A field day at Wayne and Paul Clarke’s property at Casino will showcase research being conducted by Queensland University of Technology into practices to better predict and manage nitrogen requirements. For more information click on the link below.

Casino Field Day_15th November 2017

For more information contact:

Dr David Rowlings, Queensland University of Technology

T: +61 7 3138 9508 E: d.rowlings@qut.edu.au

This project is supported by funding from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources as part of its Rural R&D for Profit programme, Queensland University of Technology, NSW Department of Primary Industries and Dairy Australia.

Improving dairy farm nitrogen efficiency using advanced technologies

Undertaken by the University of Melbourne, this project aims to 1) gain a better understanding of the amount of N supplied through mineralisation to dairy pastures under dryland and irrigated conditions, and 2) test the ability of new technologies to predict N requirements in pastures. Currently, amounts of N supplied through mineralisation, and the variation in this supply over seasons, is not understood sufficiently enough to influence fertiliser practices. In addition, often the ‘rule of thumb’ approach is used to make fertiliser N decisions, with limited use of tool under development or already available in other agricultural industries. The findings will be utilised to support development of a simple but effective tool for farmers and advisors which will reduce uncertainty around estimates of mineralised available N, and pasture N requirements so that fertiliser source, rate and timing decisions can be adjusted accordingly.

Click on the link to download a copy of the Information Sheet on this project (UoMAdvTechDairy)

Project Activities & Events
Coming soon 

For more information contact:
Dr Helen Suter, The University of Melbourne
T: +61 3 8344 0179 M: +61 438456602 E: helencs@unimelb.edu.au

This project is supported by funding from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources as part of its Rural R&D for Profit programme, The University of Melbourne and Dairy Australia.


Quantifying the whole farm systems impact of nitrogen best practice on dairy farms


This project, led by the University of Melbourne in partnership with the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA), is using existing farm scale modelling technology to validate both the component and whole farm level. It will demonstrate how modelling can be confidently used to conduct whole farm system analysis research in new technology and enabling practices at reduced cost and time frames relative to field experiments.

Five representative farm systems are being used to simulate how certain farm management practices influence NUE. Importantly, it is testing the current industry’s “Fert$mart” guidelines across agro-climatic zones of Australia’s dairy industry, providing opportunity to extend and evaluate new research findings throughout regions and farming systems. Improvement in NUE will assist the industry in achieving targets to increase home grown forage consumption with greater water, cost and greenhouse gas emissions efficiencies.

Click on the link to download a copy of the Information Sheet on this project (UoMTIADairy)

Project Activities & Events

Coming soon 

For more information contact:
Professor Richard Eckard, The University of Melbourne T: +61 3 9035 8264       E:Richard.eckard@unimelb.edu.au
Dr Richard Rawnsley, Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture M: + 61 428 501 972   E: Richard.Rawnsley@utas.edu.au

 

This project is supported by funding from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources as part of its Rural R&D for Profit programme, The University of Melbourne and Dairy Australia.

 

The three projects provide ongoing opportunities for dairy farmers and service providers to hear first-hand about progress towards the outcomes and what it means for dairy:
• Professional skills development workshops
• Workshops on use of developed tools, such as a mineralisation calculator
• Trial site field days and farm walks
• Presentations of research findings at dairy industry and science conferences
• Updates to relevant Dairy Australia programs and resources, such as Fert$mart