Yield and growth rates of pastures grown in the Bay of Plenty region over 35 years
Bay of Plenty district, and particularly the Rotorua Lakes area, has a diverse terrain and soil types which influence pasture production. Regular measurement of pasture production enables short term decision making on a farm scale and is invaluable for catchment,
district and regional long term management strategies. Thomas (Tom) M. Gee, was a retired farmer with more than 18 years of field trial experience with MAF Field Research Division. He collected data from more than 30 farms after he retired. Data from other sites in the district were collected in the early 1970s by MAF technicians stationed in Whakatane and Tauranga and later by AgResearch staff and a farm consultant based in Rotorua. Tom Gee’s mission was to use these measurements to provide farmers with rates of growth (ROG) data to inform them about their farm. The Gee farm (Fairbank) of 200 ha was originally leased from Ngati Whakaue Tribal Lands in 1916 and then purchased before much of it was sold back to the Incorporation in 1970. Tom retired in 1989 but kept meticulously recording pasture growth rates on different farms up to ~ 2007. Some field notes were lost, but datasets with gaps are still useful to assist monthly growth rates calculations. His valuable and extensive (almost 25 years) on farm field records have been retrieved, compiled, assembled, and digitised, to be saved electronically, and entered into the AgYields National Database hosted at Lincoln University. Part of this legacy dataset has been summarised and dry matter yields and growth rates calculated, consistent with
previous methods, to provide a quantified description of mean monthly pasture growth rates across the Bay of Plenty region, in New Zealand.
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