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Research Projects

Discover the details of our ongoing research projects.

Research Projects

Discover the details of our ongoing research projects.

Sub 4 Spring

Background

This project, initiated in 2015 and funded by the Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF Project 408090), was created to identify, describe and promote methods to increase the subterranean clover content on summer dry farms throughout NZ.

A decade of research by the Lincoln University Dryland Pastures Research Team has identified subterranean clover as second only to lucerne as the most suitable legume for dryland pastoral farmers. Our aim with this project is to develop a comprehensive best management strategy (similar to that developed previously for lucerne) to maximize the use of sub clover for dryland New Zealand farms.

Summer dry hill country pastures (>2M ha) are always extremely nitrogen deficient. This means they, like all N deficient grass, use their scarce spring water inefficiently (5 kg DM/mm water used) to produce low yields (1-3 t DM/ha/yr). As a consequence of this severe N deficiency, dryland pastures typically show high responses to fertilizer N (20 kg DM/ha/kg N applied) which is obvious in urine areas throughout the region in spring.

The difference in growth in urine and non-urine patches is an obvious visual indicator of the lost growth opportunity that exits on all dryland farms. The physics of evapotranspiration means that both plus and minus urine patches are using their limited water resource at the same rate. A problem is that increasingly farmers recognise this and use urea fertiliser to overcome this N deficit. The opportunity exists to produce similar pasture responses to N by the introduction of suitable legumes (that are never N deficient).

Sub clover is our earliest spring growing legume, fixes N at the same rate as white clover (~30 kg N/t DM grown) and can increase dry matter yield and quality during lactation while reducing the need for urea.

Successful use of sub clover in Marlborough has been shown to increase lamb live-weight by over 7 kg/hd (27-34 kg live-weight) during lactation. Assuming 2M ha of N deficient dryland hill country the current lost opportunity is conservatively 5 kg/hd x 14 lambs/ha x 2M ha = 140M kg or 140,000 t of additional lamb meat each spring! Arguably the potential animal live-weight gain from appropriate use of sub clover is greater than exists for lucerne, plantain and chicory combined.

As a first step to exploring the potential for sub clover to increase the profitability and sustainability of dryland pastoral farmers members of  the DPR Team have reviewed the relevant literature. The review can be viewed or downloaded in the list of relevant publications below:

 

Lucerne Research

Background

In New Zealand, many farmers moved away from lucerne in the 1970's and 80's because of pest and diseases which decimated stands of the widely used, and high susceptible, cultivar ‘Wairau’. The majority of farmers used it for conservation cuts. Plant breeding resulted in the release of newer cultivars which were resistant to or tolerant of attack. However, over time the knowledge of how to manage the crop was lost and it gained the reputation of being expensive to establish and difficult to manage.

Research at Lincoln which has improved management flexibility is mainly due to work which has allowed us a greater understanding of how, when and why lucerne responds to environment and management decisions.

The research conducted has been used to create a practical management guide (PDF 576 KB) for farmers who are moving to direct grazing of lucerne (also known as alfalfa). The guide outlines what happens and when – basically an on-farm cheat sheet to getting started and what to expect.

Most recently, Rachel Fields, Derrick Moot and Graham Barrell have put together a 4 page handout you can save or print out all about "Identifying oestrogenic lucerne crops and pre-mating ewe management" (PDF 258 kB). There's some great practical information for those planning on flushing on lucerne in autumn.

On-farm success with lucerne at 'Bonavaree' in Marlborough was highlighted at the Beyond Reasonable Drought field day in May 2008. For more information see:

Landscape farming with lucerne at 'Bonavaree' farm in Marlborough

 

Our Dryland Pastures Blog also provides practical information from 'Bonavaree' which outlines seasonal activity and planning for a successful direct grazed lucerne system in a dryland environment and a range of information on subjects including recovery from drought and set stocking.

The following is a list of papers with our most recent lucerne research:

Horehound Biocontrol Group

Funded by the Sustainable Farming Fund.
The content provided on this page has been supplied by the Horehound Biocontrol Group and Dr Ronny Groenteman (Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research). Content will be updated as the project progresses.
 
 

Background

Horehound (Marrubium vulgare) is a naturalized, perennial, drought tolerant herb which is widespread in low rainfall areas of New Zealand, particularly in the South Island high country. This species is also emerging as an important, and difficult to control, weed in stands of our most important dryland pasture species - Lucerne. There are currently over 150 000 ha of lucerne (alfalfa; Medicago sativa) grown in New Zealand.

The main issues with the invasion and spread of horehound within pasture systems is the species is unpalatable to grazing livestock and can, over time, displace agronomically important pasture components. This reduces the quantity and quality of feed on offer. In cases where animals are forced to eat horehound, meat is tainted. Additionally, seeds can downgrade wool quality of animals which have grazed in paddocks infested with horehound. To date, chemical and mechanical control has had limited success in controlling the spread of horehound. It is currently estimated that the economic impact to farmers is $29-$39M annually. 

Previously, in Australia, a successful biocontrol program was established to control horehound with the release of the plume moth (Wheeleria spilodactylus, foliar feeder) and the clearwing moth (Chamaesphecia mysiniformis, root feeder) from 1994. Here, the Horehound Biocontrol Group was established to identify potential biocontrol agents and determine the feasibility of a biocontrol programme in New Zealand.

The Group has been successful at securing funding to pursue the introduction of the biocontrol agents that have become successful in Australia and is currently preparing a case to present to the Environmental Protection Authority for release of these agents in New Zealand. If you have horehound on your property, you can help making the case by filling the economics of horehound survey either online or by hard copy.

 

Publications

High Country Forage Improvement

Funded by The New Zealand Merino Company Ltd

'Survive, thrive and make money from …'

Merinos at Glenmore Station (Photo KM Pollock, Lincoln University)
 

Three stages of pasture legume research aimed at high country pastures. Lincoln University staff and post-graduates are working with several high country farmers to determine which species survive and how to make them thrive in the unique soils and climatic conditions of the South Island high country.

 

The High Country stations involved are:

  • Lake Heron Station (Philip Todhunter, Ashburton)
  • Sawdon Station (Snow Loxton, Burkes Pass)
  • Glenmore Station (Will & Jim Murray, Tekapo)
  • Simon’s Hill (Glen & Denis Fastier, Tekapo)
  • Bog Roy (Gundy and Lisa Anderson, Lake Benmore)
  • Omarama Station (Richard Subtil)
  • Mt Grand Station (Rick McNeilly, Hawea)

Farmers' questions set the scientists the challenge to find methods to:

  • Establish lucerne where possible
  • Introduce alternative annual legumes establishment
  • Introduce alternative species for specific environmental niches (cultivatable and non-cultivatable land)
  • Oversow and top dress steep topographic areas
  • Overcome acid soils with high exchangeable aluminium
  • Develop hill country paddocks of different aspects, altitudes and rainfall/temperature regimes, with perennial legumes and grasses
  • Use appropriate species and methods to oversow tussock grasslands to increase quality and quantity of available feed at lambing
  • Define management requirements for grass and legume species sown to survive, produce and persist.

Yields, changes in botanical composition of pastures and liveweight production from grazing stock will be monitored to quantify how successful strategy was.

 

Publications:


Blog posts:

MaxClover Grazing Experiment

The MaxClover Photo Diary (PDF 18.7 MB) is now available for viewing/download. This diary documents the changes in pasture composition over time. A written commentary is included to describe the changes observed.

 

The ‘MaxClover’ Grazing Experiment was established at Lincoln University in autumn 2002. This long-term replicated experiment ran for 10 years and allowed dry matter and sheep liveweight production to be measured for nine full growth seasons.

There were six different pastures evaluated with one of the main aims being to identify a legume which could complete and survive within cocksfoot (orchardgrass) based pastures in dryland environments which experienced periodic water stress. Four of the pastures were cocksfoot (CF) based sown in a mix with either subterranean (CF/Sub), balansa (CF/Bal), white (CF/Wc) or Caucasian (CF/Cc) clovers. The Sub and balansa clovers were annuals and the white and Caucasian clovers were perennials which allowed the Lincoln University Dryland Research team to look at how resource demand could be offset within a mixture to reduce competition between the grass and clover for water, light and nutrients. These cocksfoot based pastures were compared with a perennial ryegrass/white clover control (RG/Wc) and a lucerne (Luc) monoculture.

The figure below on the left reports total and seasonal LWt production from Coopworth sheep which grazed the pastures.

The figure on the right shows accumulated total dry matter production of the six pastures over the nine growth seasons, and total rainfall in each growth season - error bars are SEM for TDM. Most years lucerne yields were superior to all grass based pastures. Production from CF/Sub pastures was generally similar to or greater than all other grass-based pastures and yields from the annual Sub clover accounted for 25-32% of total annual yield in six of the nine years with yields of 2.4-3.8 t/ha Sub clover in those years.

By the final year the sown grass and clovers accounted for about 65% of total yield in the cocksfoot based pastures compared with only 13% from the ryegrass and white clover in the control pasture. White clover content in the CF/Wc pasture was 25% in the first year and decreased to 3% in the last year.

 

Supplementary material associated with scientific publications

The following soil test data is supplementary material associated with the following publication:

Mills A, Moot DJ, Lucas RJ. 2014a. ‘MaxClover’ Grazing Experiment: I. Annual yields, botanical composition and growth rates of six dryland pastures over nine years. Grass and Forage Science, 70, 557-570 (DOI 10.1111/gfs.12132).

 

Click here to view the full size image

Click here to view the full size image

 

  

Table 1. Soil test results (0-75 mm) from the MaxClover Grazing Experiment at Lincoln University, Canterbury, New Zealand for nine growth seasons. Soil samples were analysed using Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries Quicktest (MAF QT) procedures.

pH

Olsen P

Ca2+

Mg2+

K+

Na+

SO4-S

Date

Pasture

(H2O)

(µg/ml)

-------meq/100 g--------

(µg/ml)

30/01/2002

Pre-Sow

5.7

14

5

16

6

7

3

11/06/2003

CF/Sub

5.9

14

7

15

9

7

12

CF/Bal

6.0

11

7

14

9

7

10

CF/Wc

6.0

13

7

16

10

7

14

CF/Cc

6.0

14

7

16

10

7

12

RG/Wc

6.1

14

7

16

9

7

10

Luc

5.8

13

7

16

10

6

17

24/06/2004

CF/Sub

6.0

15

7

16

13

8

8

CF/Bal

6.0

12

6

15

10

9

11

CF/Wc

6.2

13

7

16

11

8

7

CF/Cc

6.2

13

7

18

9

8

8

RG/Wc

6.2

11

8

16

10

8

11

Luc

6.0

16

6

17

13

8

18

28/04/2005

CF/Sub

6.2

15

7

14

13

9

6

CF/Bal

6.1

15

6

15

13

6

6

CF/Wc

6.2

15

7

16

10

6

3

CF/Cc

6.2

15

6

15

11

6

3

RG/Wc

6.2

13

7

15

11

5

5

Luc

6.0

18

6

14

15

6

9

28/04/2006

CF/Sub

6.2

19

8

16

13

4

9

CF/Bal

6.2

18

7

16

13

9

12

CF/Wc

6.2

20

6

16

12

9

14

CF/Cc

6.2

23

7

17

13

9

13

RG/Wc

6.2

15

7

16

9

9

11

Luc

6.0

21

6

14

15

9

24

26/07/2007

CF/Sub

6.4

22

9

17

19

7

3

CF/Bal

6.4

17

8

19

13

10

3

 

CF/Wc

6.4

22

8

18

16

8

3

CF/Cc

6.4

24

9

20

17

9

3

 

RG/Wc

6.4

25

9

20

18

10

3

Luc

6.5

27

9

22

17

10

3

07/05/2008

CF/Sub

6.2

24

8

21

15

12

10

CF/Bal

6.4

24

8

20

15

9

7

 

CF/Wc

6.3

20

8

20

15

10

7

CF/Cc

6.3

22

8

21

15

11

7

RG/Wc

6.3

18

8

20

12

12

11

Luc

6.2

25

8

19

17

8

17

12/05/2009

CF/Sub

6.3

18

8

21

15

7

-

CF/Bal

6.2

17

8

19

14

5

-

CF/Wc

6.3

19

9

20

14

6

-

CF/Cc

6.3

22

7

20

14

6

-

RG/Wc

6.3

14

8

19

11

6

-

Luc

6.3

19

8

18

17

4

-

11/06/2010

CF/Sub

6.1

26

8

22

15

7

4

CF/Bal

6.1

25

8

20

14

4

3

 

CF/Wc

6.2

26

8

20

13

5

3

CF/Cc

6.1

26

8

21

14

5

3

RG/Wc

6.1

20

7

18

10

5

4

Luc

6.1

25

8

18

18

4

5

 

The following graze days and liveweight data is supplementary material associated with the following publication:

Mills A, Lucas RJ, Moot DJ. 2014b. ‘MaxClover’ Grazing Experiment. II. Sheep liveweight production from six grazed dryland pastures over eight years. New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Research, 58, 57-77.

 

Please see the publication for relevant information on the timing and class of stock grazing to aid interpretation. The difference between total grazing days (Table 2) and 'Production' grazing days (Table 3) represents grazing events associated with pasture management where sheep grazed at high stocking rates for short durations to clean up pastures. During these times liveweight gain was assumed to be zero.

 

Table 2. Total grazing days/ha for sheep grazing the ‘MaxClover’ grazing experiment at Lincoln University, Canterbury, New Zealand from 2002/03 (Year 1) to 2010/11 (Year 9). The total number of grazing days for 2002/03 is shown for reference only. For 2009/10 and 2010/11 grazing days were for ewes with twin lambs at foot in spring. In 2010/11 (Year 9) all graze days were associated with measured liveweight production (Table 3).

Pasture

02/03

03/04

04/05

05/06

06/07

07/08

08/09

09/10

10/11

CF/Sub

7321

5637 bc

6727 abc

7081 a

8420 ab

6804 ab

5953 a

7549 a

-

CF/Bal

8742

6329 a

8247 a

6967 a

9298 a

6359 bc

5184 bc

6275 b

-

CF/Wc

7862

5795 ab

7706 ab

6499 a

8320 ab

6659 ab

5128 bc

6516 b

-

CF/Cc

7669

5419 bc

6912 abc

6744 a

9198 a

7193 a

5488 ab

7452 a

-

RG/Wc

6854

5121 cd

6344 bc

5324 b

8180 b

5870 cd

4670 c

5904 b

-

Luc

4684

4772 d

5557 c

4593 b

6190 c

5316 d

5317 b

5990 b

-

Mean

5512

6916

6201

8286

6367

5290

6614

SEM

198.8

544.8

256.7

340.3

226.9

208.2

265.0

Significance

***

*

***

***

***

**

***

Note: each grazing day is per animal and is unadjusted for stock class or LWt (i.e. stock units have not been standardised and 1 ewe plus twin lambs grazing for one day is 3 GD). Significance levels are: ns=not significant; *=P<0.05; **=P<0.001 and ***=P<0.001. Within columns values followed by the same letter are similar at P<0.05. In Year 1 (2002/03) liveweight was not determined and grazing days includes pre-fencing periods when pastures were grazed in common so data could not be analysed. All GD in 2010/11 were associated with LWt production periods and no maintenance grazing events occurred. Within columns values followed by the same letter are similar.

 

Table 3. 'Production' graze days/ha for sheep grazing the ‘MaxClover’ grazing experiment at Lincoln University, Canterbury, New Zealand. 'Production' graze days were not recorded in 2002/03 (Year 1). In spring of 2009/10 (Year 8) and 2010/11 (Year 9) grazing days were for ewes with twin lambs at foot in spring.

Pasture

02/03

03/04

04/05

05/06

06/07

07/08

08/09

09/10

10/11

CF/Sub

-

5119 ab

6309

6026 a

5647

5425 a

5692

6657 a

6652 a

CF/Bal

-

4075 c

5621

6114 a

4833

5130 abc

4924

5333 bc

5206 b

CF/Wc

-

5282 a

6824

5702 a

5527

5275 ab

4829

5506 bc

5146 b

CF/Cc

-

4932 ab

6214

6034 a

5926

5512 a

4829

6096 b

5493 b

RG/Wc

-

4865 ab

5629

4579 b

4975

4561 c

4561

5012 c

4360 c

Luc

-

4772 b

5089

3785 c

5271

4768 bc

5120

5643 bc

5263 b

Mean


4841

5948

5373

5383

5112

5051

5666

5353

SEM


159.3

453.6

221.7

287.4

201.9

286.3

247.0

234.8

Significance

**

ns

***

ns

*

ns

**

***

Note: each grazing day is per animal and is unadjusted for stock class or LWt (i.e. stock units have not been standardised and 1 ewe plus twin lambs grazing for one day is 3 GD). Significance levels are: ns=not significant; *=P<0.05; **=P<0.001 and ***=P<0.001. In Year 1 (2002/03) liveweight was not determined and grazing days includes pre-fencing periods when pastures were grazed in common so data could not be analysed. All GD in 2010/11 were associated with LWt production periods and no maintenance grazing events occurred. Within columns values followed by the same letter are similar.

  

Table 4. Proportion of annual liveweight produced in spring, summer and autumn at the ‘MaxClover’ grazing experiment at Lincoln University, Canterbury, New Zealand.

Year

Season

Pasture

02/03

03/04

04/05

05/06

06/07

07/08

08/09

09/10

10/11

Spring

CF/Sub

-

0.56 bc

0.77

0.71 ab

0.68 a

0.66 a

0.74 a

0.85

0.67 a

CF/Bal

-

0.74 a

0.53

0.69 b

0.52 b

0.67 a

0.65 b

0.76

0.64 a

 

CF/Wc

-

0.57 bc

0.64

0.66 b

0.70

0.72 a

0.67 b

0.75

0.68 a

CF/Cc

-

0.56 bc

0.58

0.66 b

0.72 a

0.67 a

0.64 bc

0.75

0.68 a

RG/Wc

-

0.60 b

0.68

0.76 a

0.69 a

0.67 a

0.70 ab

0.79

0.69 a

Luc

-

0.52 c

0.62

0.57 c

0.47 b

0.48 b

0.58 c

0.74

0.54 b

Mean

 

0.59

0.64

0.67

0.63

0.64

0.66

0.77

0.64

SEM

 

0.21

0.72

0.21

0.27

0.30

0.022

0.026

0.022

Significance

 

***

ns

***

***

***

***

ns

***

Summer

CF/Sub

-

0.28 ab

0.28

0.12 cd

0.27 b

0.17 bc

0.10 c

0.08 b

0.10 c

CF/Bal

-

0.00 e

0.56

0.12 c

0.40 a

0.19 b

0.17 b

0.18 a

0.17 b

CF/Wc

-

0.24 bc

0.29

0.18 b

0.29 b

0.09 c

0.16 b

0.19 a

0.18 b

CF/Cc

-

0.33 a

0.35

0.16 bc

0.25 b

0.15 bc

0.17 b

0.18 a

0.14 bc

RG/Wc

-

0.22 c

0.27

0.06 d

0.29 b

0.16 bc

0.10 c

0.16 a

0.18 b

Luc

-

0.09 d

0.36

0.33 a

0.44 a

0.35 a

0.29 a

0.18 a

0.33 a

Mean

 

0.19

0.35

0.16

0.32

0.18

0.17

0.16

0.19

 

SEM

 

0.18

ns

0.20

0.30

0.032

0.015

0.025

0.016

Significance

 

***

0.076

***

***

***

***

*

***

Autumn

CF/Sub

-

0.16 c

-0.06 c

0.17 ab

0.05 ab

0.17

0.16 ab

0.07 ab

0.23 a

 

CF/Bal

-

0.26 b

-0.09 d

0.20 a

0.08 a

0.14

0.18 a

0.06 bc

0.19 ab

 

CF/Wc

-

0.19 c

0.07 a

0.15 b

0.01 c

0.20

0.18 a

0.07 ab

0.17 bc

 

CF/Cc

-

0.12 d

0.07 a

0.18 a

0.03 bc

0.18

0.19 a

0.07 ab

0.18 b

 

RG/Wc

-

0.18 c

0.05 a

0.18 ab

0.03 bc

0.17

0.20 a

0.05 c

0.13 d

 

Luc

-

0.39 a

0.01 b

0.11 c

0.08 a

0.17

0.13 b

0.08 a

0.13 cd

 

Mean

 

0.22

0.005

0.18

0.05

0.17

0.17

0.07

0.17

 

SEM

 

0.010

0.010

0.011

0.011

0.022

0.015

0.006

0.015

 

Significance

 

***

***

***

***

ns

*

*

***

Note: Values may not sum due to rounding. Significance levels are: ns = non-significant, * = P<0.05, **=P<0.01 and *** = P<0.001. SEM is the standard error of the mean. Numbers followed by the same letter are similar at the P<0.05 level. In 2002/03 liveweight was not determined (-). Negative vlaues indicate animals lost liveweight gained in previous grazing periods.

 

 

Change in liveweight of "core" livestock

Click here to view the full size image

Click here to view the full size image

Figure 3 Average liveweight (LWt/hd) of the “core” animal groups grazing one of six dryland pastures over eight years at Lincoln University, Canterbury, New Zealand. The stock classes are: hoggets (○) and weaned lambs (▽) weighed empty or ewes (●) with twin lambs at foot (▼) weighed full. Breaks indicate either a change in the class of stock, a period when the pastures were destocked or when the number of animals in the “core” group changed which altered the average weight of the mob.

 

 

Average stocking rates

A 'put and take' system matched feed supply to animal demand. the graph below shows the average stocking rates for different seasons and stock classes grazing the pastures.

Click here to view the full size image

Click here to view the full size image

Figure 4 Mean stocking rate (head/ha) of ewe hoggets (●,○), weaned lambs (■,□,■) and ewes (▼,▽) with lambs at foot (◆,◇) during liveweight production periods in Spring (Jul-Nov; black symbols), Summer (Dec-Feb; white fill) and Autumn (Mar-Jun; grey fill) grazing one of six dryland pastures over eight years at Lincoln University, Canterbury, New Zealand.

Marlborough - technology transfer

Background

This project investigates strategies for dryland livestock farmers to drought proof their farming systems using different species and develop their properties with guidance from Lincoln University staff. The farmers involved will develop practical messages for other farmers to follow. Each leading farmer is creating a photo diary to show what happens on-farm over the course of the growth season. These written and visual records will provide a web-based resource for other farmers to use as a reference to develop appropriate strategies for their own farms.

 

Links to presentations given by the farmers at the Dryland Legume Workshop in Marlborough on 18 June 2012 are provided below.

  • Tempello, David and Joanna Grigg, Marlborough - grazing management for successful and persistence of subterranean clover un-cultivatable dryland hill pastures for sheep and beef farming will be explained and the decisions needed to develop best management practises outlined. Sub clover presentation (PDF 1.3 MB)
  • Bonavaree, Doug and Fraser Avery, Grassmere, Marlborough - South Island Farmers of the Year (2010) will provide all the inside information on how to establish and direct graze lucerne successfully and outline how to increase feed quality and quantity in low rainfall, drought prone environments. Decisions and management strategies on how the farm overcomes winter feed shortages, manages potential animal health problems and utilises lucerne at different times of the year, and pasture renewal practise will be explained. Lucerne & Lucerne/Grass mixes presentation (PDF 434 KB)
  • Pyramid, Chris and Julia Dawkins, Marlborough - In a 700+ mm rainfall environment with summer drought conditions 12 ha of arrowleaf clover and perennial grass pastures have been established. Arrowleaf clover is the latest flowering annual clover available. Chris is looking at how to best manage this top flowering clover in a perennial pasture to provide quality pastures for late lactation and lamb weaning feed while ensuring persistence of the clover from year to year. Arrowleaf clover presentation (PDF 1.4 MB)
  • Breach Oak, Warwick and Lisa Lissaman, Marlborough - In a 600+ mm rainfall environment Warwick has sown a range of annual clovers including Persian, gland and balansa with tall fescue into heavy, winter wet, summer dry land. There are mixed species pastures which include plantain and clovers growing alone and management of gland and balansa clovers with winter active tall fescue is being monitored. One of Lincoln Universities PhD students is also collecting information on the growth and development of the clovers in this environment. Presentations from the Dryland Legume Workshop (18 Jun 2010): Balansa clover (PDF 1.6 MB) gland clover (PDF 1.2 MB) pasture improvement (PDF 878 KB)
  • Jedburgh, Tony Turnbull, Marlborough - Tony is a new convert to lucerne. In a 600 mm rainfall environment with summer drought Tony is converting rolling hill country to lucerne. He has also has success direct drilling annual clovers into danthonia grassland. Tony will outline his successes, failures and fixes during his conversion programme. Lucerne conversion presentation (PDF 1.0 MB)

 

Links to presentations given by the farmers and Lincoln university staff at the Dryland Legume Workshop in Marlborough on 20 June 2013 are provided below.

  • Meadowbank, Will Grigg, Marlborough - Will describes the development of Meadowbank with a range of dryland pasture mixes on drought prone hill country and outlines the increase in production achieved by implementing change. Legumes at Meadowbank (PDF (8.7 MB)
  • Jim Moir, Lincoln University - Soil scientist Jim Moir describes soils, nutrients for plant growth, fertilisers, nitrogen fixation by legumes and potential limitations to productivity and descusses how to identify products capable of benefiting plant production. Soil fertility, Legumes & Fertiliser: Unravelling the Mysteries (PDF 1.8 MB)
  • Peter Anderson, The Vet Centre (Marlborough) - Peter discusses the effect of feed quality on animal performance and condition and it's implications on lambing percent and profitability. The Importance of Legumes to the Farm System (PDF 3.2 MB)

 

Link to the presentation given by Prof Derrick Moot at the Dryland Legume Workshop in Marlborough on 28 June 2014 is provided below.

 

 

Ag Engineering

This project is conducted in association with Flexiseeder Ltd, Lincoln University, Geoff Gray Ltd, The Seed and Mechanisation Development Trust (SEMEC) and in collaboration with Torbjörn Leuchovius at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences Field Research Unit. The project has led to the development of a drill suitable for both conventional cultivation or direct drilling and incorporates a range of new technologies into one machine. Learn about the development of the new Flexiseeder plot drill and Flexiseeder Limeblower at Lincoln University.

Flexiseeder plot drill

 

New Flexiseeder plot drill at the Field Service Centre

Lincoln University is the proud owner of state of the art plot seeder drilling equipment. In collaboration Flexiseeder Ltd, a small NZ owned world leader in the design and manufacture of such equipment together with a Christchurch engineering firm Geoff Gray Ltd, the final hurdles have been crossed and the drill has been commissioned by our technicians at the Field Service Centre.
The FSC technicians Dave Jack and Dan Dash are well into sowing this season’s pasture and crop experiments with the new drill fitted with Flexiseeder hoe coulters. They and the designer-manufacturer Flexiseeder principle Dr John Stevens (Lincoln alumnus of 30 years ago) are very happy with the results. Flexiseeder disc coulter options are available.

  


 A new experiment is sown with the Flexiseeder drill into conventionally cultivated land on 22 October 2014 at Lincoln University.

 

This drill, which can be used on cultivated ground or direct drilling, incorporates a number of unique Flexiseeder technologies that have been developed, and brought into commercial production in NZ through the ad hoc Nordic-NZ end-user group formed and lead by John. He and his Nordic counterpart Torbjörn Leuchovius have drawn on 60 years combined applied professional work in agronomy to fit it all together.
John’s relationship with Europe goes back many years. This initiative was conceived, and developed by John and Torbjörn on the basis of global agro ecological overlap which underpins the out of season seed industry in NZ. Since 2007, Flexiseeder Ltd has built and exported 10 complete drills to Sweden, and one each to Norway and Switzerland; plus air, product metering and coulter modules to Norway, Denmark and Germany for inclusion on other world renowned brands.
The new technologies found on the Flexiseeder were developed for plot drills and some elements are already being integrated into to broad acre machinery under the Flexiseeder brand, the new Duncan tyne drill for example.
The core focus has been to develop combined fertiliser and seed sowing plot machinery that is comparable to farm equipment, equally suited for traditional cultivation on good soils as well as heavy clay and other difficult soils including reduced and zero tillage on flat as well as hill country. The three big steps forward are the air feed systems for even seed delivery and the pulsed seed calibration technology for seeding rate times distance replacing manual drives with electric/digital drives of portion feeds including continuous sowing. The design allows these modules to be placed anywhere on the machine. The third innovation are the tips, tynes or coulters and alternatively a disc design requiring less than normal down pressure using available machine weight; simple but very effective. Previously, this equipment was lacking as a combined package.
“Flexi” and “modular” are the operative words for the design. The frame configuration could be called somewhat ubiquitous but what you hang off it, or attach to it, is state of the art. The frame, coulter, air and continuous feed configuration also forms the basis of farm machines, including gull wing designs.
As overlays to these technologies, the drill has been designed to do other “things” that will offer plenty of collaborative project topics. It can sow three species at the same time but through three independent delivery tubes. Two species can be sown in one drill row while the other can be sown in the alternate row alongside if required. One of three delivery tubes can deliver fertiliser while sowing and delivering the fertiliser below, to the side or behind the seed.
There are a few more tricks as well but the basics will do for now. As projects are put up and funding comes forward the “bells and whistles” can be added; discs for example.
This collaboration came about back in 2012 when Prof Derrick Moot, in discussion with John Stevens and Prof John Hampton through SEMEC, set a specification for the new drill to replace an old Oyjord machine specially built for the university in 1977 and which was still in operation up to last year at the FSC (Lincoln University Field Service Centre).
Derrick’s wish list was for something slightly out of the ordinary for a conventional plot drill. The drill had to be configured in such a way that it could be used installing experimental designed pastures and crops in conventional cultivated ground to a very high specification of depth and spacing or evenness, as well and with little adjustment, could do the same but direct drill seed into uncultivated ground.
The obvious reason from Derrick’s point of view was the introduction of lucerne and other legumes in the NZ hill country situation where cultivation is expensive. NZ Hill country is the last great development area for pastoral farming as we know it.

 

What is SEMEC?
“The Seed and Mechanisation Development Trust (SEMEC) is a New Zealand registered research based, production oriented Charitable Trust which aims to improve food security by strengthening and facilitating global networking for primary production industries reliant on seed”

Principle European collaborators include:
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences Field Research Unit. Contact person and counterpart Torbjörn Leuchovius

Intensification of hill and high country farming systems

Intensification of farming systems in South Island hill & high country

 
Background

In 2005 the Lees Valley Farmers Group applied for a MAF Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF) grant to investigate pasture and forage options for the intensification of South Island Hill and High Country. At the beginning of the project the site was low producing browntop with matagouri and sorrel. Over the three years the project looked at a wide range of topics. Questions were answered by Lincoln University dryland research and technical staff who set up, and measured, a range of experiments which covered >10 ha area in the driest, stoniest part of the valley bottom.

 

These experiments looked at:

  • Methods of establishment and their cost
  • The effect of lime on the establishment and growth of the introduced pasture species
  • Forage production
  • Identification of grass and legumes suited to the environment
  • Which mixtures performed best and when nitrogen response of grasses
  • Quality of pasture/forage produced

Over the three years there were both public and private field days at which the results were talked about. The booklets from the 2007, 2008 and final 2009 public field days. The Appendices produced from data collected at Lees Valley used in the final SFF report in 2009 are also provided on the Field day handouts & Presentations page. Each experiment is outlined and main points/results are outlined at the end of each section.

 
Lees Vally after development
 
Pasture persistence in hill & high country

A second SFF project was then approved to investigate the long-term persistence of the improved grasses, annual and perennial legumes and pasture mixes which had been established in the first project. This was important because introduction of new species/mixes must be economically viable in low input dryland systems and if the species don’t persist then there is a need for more frequent pasture renewal.

 

The results were published in a booklet at the final public field day in November 2011.

 

In addition, the response of grasses to spring applied nitrogen fertiliser was also reported at the 70th New Zealand Grassland Conference 2008 and at the 72nd annual conference (2010) the effects of liming on soil aluminium levels and lucerne production were reported. All NZGA publications are open access and available directly from the NZGA website.

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