Farm Systems Project

Farm Systems Project

The goal of this project was to use farm systems analysis to achieve a 'win-win for the farmer and the environment'.

This is a project that has received funding by DairyNZ and NZ Landcare Trust to carry out farm system analysis for two farms in the Top of the South. This approach is one that individual dairy farmers can also source directly for their farm.

The goal is to find a situation where the dairy farm can produce more profit but with reduced green house gas emissions and nitrate leaching. This is done through redesigning the dairy farm system so that changes in marginal inputs such as cow numbers, bought in feed, irrigation, nitrogen fertiliser are optimised to ensure that positive marginal economic returns are achieved. When this analysis is done it often results in a decrease in cow numbers, a decrease in inputs but an increase in profitability and reduced environmental footprint.

Farm Systems Project

To model the farm systems the Enviro-Economic Model (E2M) was used. This full farm systems approach combines prediction of animal production from feed energy intakes (farm grown or bought in feeds) and optimises to calculate the best economic profit.

In this instance it was used to provide a series of actual farm options to reduce N leaching and green house gas emissions (GHG) and to improve profit for two farms in the Top of the South. The two case studies also examined the use of trees to offset emissions.

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