Hill country farm investment options - cocksfoot pasture vs. superphosphate fertiliser


  • D.J. Barker
  • D.G. Sheppard
  • A.D. Mackay
  • N. Dymock




Farmers can choose between investment in pasture species or fertiliser, however, there are few comparisons of these options. This paper reports on the effects of 'Grasslands Wana' cocksfoot, (Dactylis glomerata L.) introduction and superphosphate application on pasture production in hill country. The effects of pasture production on bullbeef production were subsequently modelled using Stockpol®. Pasture, bull and financial performance was measured within four self-contained farmlets (each approximately 9 ha) at the AgResearch Ballantrae Hill Country Research Station; half of two farmlets had been oversown with Wana in autumn 1992 and two farmlets were untreated "Resident" hill pasture. The Wana farmlets generated an average $42.80/ha greater income than Resident farmlets. On average, modelling with Stockpol found gross financial return was increased by 80% by application of 40 kgP/ha ($715.26/ha) compared to nil fertiliser ($397.84/ha). With a cost of fertiliser of $2.44/kgP applied ($97.60) this predicted return was highly profitable. If the establishment costs of Wana were spread over the life of the pasture economic responses would be greater from investment in Wana cocksfoot, however, in the short term, economic responses were greater from investment in fertiliser. In the medium term a combination of investment in Wana establishment and fertiliser input would likely maximise the economic return. Keywords: bull beef, Dactylis glomerata L., farm system, 'Grasslands Wana' cocksfoot, Stockpol®, superphosphate







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