SUSTAINABLE FARMING IN NEW ZEALAND

HILL COUNTRY

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  • Sustainable Hill Country

We are nearing the conclusion of our sustainable farming Fund, Grazable Shrubs project, and after nearly three years we have a story to tell.


We have had strong financial support from MPI and very generous funding from B+LNZ. Other co-funding from Ballance Agri-Nutrients and Hawkes Bay Regional Council has completed the budget.


The team are holding a field day to share their journey on Tuesday 8th June 2021 at 1pm.


This will be a day to show the results of a three year trial looking at the growth of different pasture types under Tagasaste on steep hill country.

  • The feed value of Tagasaste as a browse shrub has merit as a supplement for hill country grazing and erosion control on difficult sites.

  • See Tagasaste established in tree guards allowing continued grazing.

  • There will be an opportunity to see progress on the growth of various native trees established in tree guards for soil conservation and other species that can supplement pole planting.

Why

Steep grazable hill country is facing all sorts of pressures. The work we have done to seek more sustainable economic options has made huge progress, however there are many more tree species, tree guard developments and pasture management options that need to be explored. What we have found to date will be presented and can be seen in the field. The results are transferrable to your property.


Where

Waituku Station – property of Nick and Kit Broad, Woolshed, 320 Hereheretau Road, Whakaki (off SH2)


Speakers Katherine Tozer – lead scientist for AgResearch,

Nick Broad – host farmer,

Grant Douglas – independent Scientist with decades of experience in hill country pastures and fodder shrubs and trees.

Other members of the project team.


We hope to see you there!


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  • Sustainable Hill Country

Forage pasture species that were planted in 2018 with variable shade conditions in a Tagasaste plantation have provided interesting insights.

The forage plants originally sown 2 years ago include: Cocksfoot, Lotus, Ryegrass, Microlaena, White Clover and Red Clover - with Prairie Grass planted 1 year ago.

An exciting and notable trend is that the Prairie Grass is already showing high dry matter production.

We are continuing to test the Tagasaste nutritive value and dry matter production, and look forward to discovering more insightful trends.


Read More


From left to right: Prairie Grass, Microlaena, Antas Clover and then Cocksfoot

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  • Sustainable Hill Country

On the 5th December 2019, Nick Broad brought in 10 cows with calves for our first direct grazing trial.


Affectionately known as the ‘G and T Trial’ (referring to the Graze and Trim treatments) on Nick’s property, we aim to estimate the volume and value of feed that Tagasaste can produce under a direct graze regime.


Day one had the cows showing a lot of interest in the rank grass within the trial area, but they only used the trees for rubbing on! There was a little bit of browsing going on, so they were able to get an idea of the new flavour. With the cows more accustomed to the taste - Nick and Craig had much better results when they put the cows back in the area the next day.


This initial ‘G & T Trial’ has taught us that that cows need to first learn about the new feed source, before being introduced to a larger quantity. For our next attempt, we plan to cut and feed the cows a few branches during the week prior to the grazing  trial. Cows will then get used to the new feed and hopefully be ready to browse the tree readily!


We hope for the next grazing to be in February 2020 (although this is dependent on the rate of regrowth) and we will be continuing this trial until the end of the funded project in mid 2021.


Read detailed report here


Each trial tree has an ID (G = Graze, T = Trim)


Graze area: measuring pre-graze feed


Day 1 of trial: cows and calves in graze area

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