Reducing nutrient run-off (leaching)
Examples listed in this key area range from current research through to dairy farming initiatives.
Improving Nutrient Management
|Source : Fonterra|
- Nitrous oxide is emitted from soils when nitrogen levels exceed the level which pasture is able to absorb for growth. Applying just the right amount of nitrogen (from effluent or fertiliser) at the right times minimises the amount of nitrous oxide emitted from soils.
- All Fonterra suppliers are required to prepare a farm nutrient budget. This enables farmers to better manage nutrients in order to reduce nitrous oxide emissions, nutrient loss to waterways, and increase profit.
- A key next step from this process is to compile the information into a database in order to allow farmers to benchmark themselves against their neighbours. Fonterra is currently in talks with the fertiliser companies who hold this information in order to leverage this data for this purpose.
- In the past year Fonterra has doubled the number of sustainability specialists providing advice to our dairy farmer suppliers. These specialists help farmers to adopt practices that will optimise effluent management and hence reduce the amount of nitrogen lost as nitrous oxide or nitrate.
Improving farm environmental performance - Uruguay
|Source : Roger Wrigley - University of Melbourne|
Assisting the Uruguayan Government and Conaprole to develop a system for dairy farm accreditation for enhanced environmental performance.
- This system was to facilitate export of product to Europe and to improve the environmental performance of Uruguayan dairy farms
- Main emphasis was on improved waste management practices, reduced nutrient mobility , better nutrient utilisation and enhanced water management on farms
- Also dealt with milking sheds and yards, feed pads and feedlots
- Emphasized the need for Whole Farm Planning
- Diagrams which follow show a neat portable trough system used for water supply in Uruguay. This can be moved with the cows as they block graze.
- The system could also be used for small scale long lateral irrigation
Milk Roadmap nutrient planning – United Kingdom
|Source : Dairy UK|
Target: 65% actively nutrient planning by 2010; increasing to 90% by 2015
Activity and Progress:
- A confluence of several factors over the past two years has lead to increasing numbers of dairy farmers using nutrient management plans on farm. The development of tools to help farmers with nutrient planning, the regulatory impact of a new NVZ Action Programme and rocketing input costs have meant an increasing uptake in nutrient management planning. This is recognition of the fact that many dairy farmers see nutrient management as a win-win solution.
- The ‘Tried and Tested’ model, as a simple paper-based guide to nutrient management planning, developed by an industry group (NFU, CLA, AIC, FWAG and LEAF) was re-launched in 2009 with the livestock and dairy sectors in mind. ‘Tried and Tested’ guides farmers through the process of creating a nutrient management plan and enables users to manage manure and fertiliser applications more efficiently, highlighting that good nutrient management planning can be straightforward, inexpensive and can offer sound benefits.
- Defra Farm Practices Survey Data. The Industry has asked for additional nutrient management questions to be included in the 2008 survey which reports in August 2009.
- Professional Nutrient Management Group Survey data.
- On target: 47% of dairy farmers responding to the 2008 survey had a NMP plan and updated it on a yearly basis
Milk Roadmap manure management plans – United Kingdom
|Source : Dairy UK|
Target: 95% of producers have a MMP (and are actively using)
Activity and Progress:
- Pass-rate figure at full audit over the last year is 94.8%. Most non-conformances will be because of lack of detail rather than the absence of a Plan.
- ADF compliance data
- Professional Nutrient Management Survey
- On target: Current level 94.8%
- ADF figures are based on pass rates at full assessments. At point of certification, assured producers should actually be 100% compliant. A remedial period is given after the first full assessment to allow non-conformances to be put right and for certification to be continued. Evidence of rectification must be submitted.
Industry association initiatives: DemoDAIRY - Australia
|Source : DemoDAIRY|
Nutrient Filter Pond
Sub-surface drainage is a fundamental necessity for efficient farming. Nowhere is this more pertinent than in the high rainfall grazing enterprises that are based in the heavy soil districts of South West Victoria. These grazing systems are inherently “leaky” in that high nutrient inputs and high animal by-product outputs are placed into an environment that has high and intense rainfall frequency. This leads to high rates of surface and sub-surface flows from paddocks to local watercourses.
Be it diffuse flows from overland discharge or point source from tile drain outlets, the fact remains that landholders need to address the fact that the potential exists for excesses of nutrients, chemicals or wastes to be carried to watercourses if no action is taken.
Constructed wetlands (or nutrient filter ponds) are a new technique being promoted to intercept and treat nutrient removal before drainage water reaches a stream or water body. Constructed wetlands for this purpose can be located within surface drains (i.e. in-stream wetlands) or at the outlets of the drainage network of either surface or, more commonly, of sub-surface drains - see ‘Notes Page’ for Background.
Errol and Paul Teese Beaudesert - Queensland, Australia
|Source : DairyingForTomorrow|
“Using the recycled nutrients has really made a big difference to our pasture performance. You can really see the terrific response when it rains” (Paul Teese)
Improving nutrient management by:
- Upgrading feed pad
- Installing an effluent pumping system for pasture spreading
Farming in practice - Vaughan and Megan Templeton, Southland, New Zealand
|Source : Fonterra|
Improving nutrient management
- The Templetons are careful to keep nutrients in the plant rooting zone and out of waterways.
- They have replaced their farm’s effluent system to improve nutrient management: solids are separated by a weeping wall and a pond has 90 days of liquid storage. Effluent is applied around the farm at a low rate using K-line pods.
“We are fourth generation farmers and we see our role as safeguarding our land for future generations through sustainable practice.”