Held in the Knowledge City of NZ, Palmerston North, the 2012 event made the most of its surroundings with the Fonterra Research Centre making a rare decision to open its doors to conference delegates.
Fonterra Research Centre
The centre is the largest dairy research facility in the world, employing over one hundred world class scientists and housing one of the largest registered dairy pilot plants in the world. Delegates were exposed to the cutting edge of dairy innovation and research, and heard about the processes and the people behind them, which combined help New Zealand lead the way in dairy innovation.
AgResearch's science activities are critical in ensuring the prosperity, security and sustainability of New Zealand's pastoral and agri-food sectors. This visit looked at how scientific and technological opportunities are identified, and then turned into tangible benefits for the dairy sector.
Topics covered include
Endophyte technology and genetic gain in forages - Dr David Hume
Improving genetic merit of the feed base - Brent Barrett
Everything you didn't want to know about drenches - Dr Dave Leathwick
Overseer, how it can help your business - Dr Mark Shepherd
Landcorp Farm Tour
In February 2004 much of the Manawatu was devastated by a one in one hudnred year flood. The Motua basin, where Landcorp has a significant dairy operation was particularly hard hit. While in the short term operation was devastated it has also provided many opportunities in terms of systems, management and production changes.
There are currently five dairy units totalling around 3700 cows, producing just under 1.5 million milk solids. This operation is considered the jewel in the crown of the Landcorp dairy portfolio. Landcorp have done significant work in gathering and collating on farm data, which is analysed and used to guide strategic and tactical on farm decisions. Particular areas of focus have been in pasture productivity, supplementary feeding, and on farm management.
Delegates on the farm tour were able to see and hear about the changes to the farm systems and the positive impacts these have had on the operations.
Reducing the environmental footprint on dairy farms is becoming an issue for the future. Massey University researchers have been conducting research in this area and presented results from their latest research into using duration controlled grazing and effluent management to achieve reduction goals.
Professor Mike Hedley and Associate Professor Dave Horne, along with James Hanly and Christine Christensen discussed their results.