Identifying the pasture potential for New Zealand dairy farms
Higher amounts of pasture and crop eaten on farm are associated with higher profit, and it is likely that many dairy farms have an opportunity to improve their financial performance. Regional averages of pasture and crop eaten are readily available but locally relevant estimates of achievable potential pasture and crop eaten are not, so farmers do not know what improvement to pasture and crop eaten and profitability might be possible. The Pasture Potential Tool was developed to provide a locally relevant estimate of that potential. Data on pasture and crop eaten were sourced from DairyNZ’s DairyBase farm performance database, and made available using an interactive web-based tool after testing with pilot groups of farmers. The tool defined a farm’s potential pasture and crop eaten in a particular year as the 90th percentile of farms within a defined radius, or the level that is exceeded by only one in ten farmers, with the data being filtered for comparable soil type and elevation, and adjusted for nitrogen fertiliser application. The tool is available on the DairyNZ website, and has been accessed more than 1300 times in the first 5 months since it went live (as of May 2019).
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