Regrassing trends and drivers in the New Zealand dairy industry
Pasture renewal is an important strategy for farmers to improve the yield of home-grown forage. This paper quantifies long-term national and regional trends in regrassing within the dairy sector and links these patterns to suggested major drivers, using simple regression analysis. Dairy farm financial data relevant to regrassing expenditure were sourced from annual dairy sector economic reports and DairyBase, while regional potential evapotranspiration deficit data were sourced from climate records and cropping data from a recent MPI report. Real and relative expenditure on regrassing has increased over this period, and appears to be positively associated with both cropping activity and drought severity, particularly in some North Island regions. The emergent picture is one of a complex of interacting drivers (climate, production, prices, forage products, soils and time) which fuel a vicious cycle of poor persistence and resowing. This situation draws attention to the need for solutions to protect regrassing investments.
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