Rotorua farmers will need practical and cost-effective mitigation options to meet the new Nitrogen Discharge Allowances. Many other NZ farmers are facing similar challenges and scientists are busy looking for solutions with support from Government and the farming industry. One such programme is called “Forages for Reduced Nitrate Leaching” (FRNL).
The FRNL programme aims to reduce nitrate leaching losses by 20 percent through delivering proven, adoptable and profitable pasture and forage crop options. This includes looking at pasture species with lower nitrogen content, cool-season growth or which are deeper rooting e.g. chicory, plantain, Italian ryegrass and lucerne.
Collective member and Parekarangi Trust Chairman Jamie Warbrick hosted a meeting with the FRNL research team on 27th November. Jamie said “We are considering becoming a monitor farm in this forages programme. Parekarangi is proud to have been the research focus farm for the recent SFF project. We want to stay involved with practical on-farm research so we can be at the leading edge of good nutrient management. Our Trust sees a long-term and sustainable future for our dairy farming business in the Lake Rotorua catchment”.
Dr Ina Pinxterhuis from DairyNZ is the FRNL programme Leader. Ina explained that “We need a network of monitor farms so we can understand and model farm systems to see if and how new forages and crops can deliver improved profit and lower nitrate leaching. Monitor farms help ensure that farmer engagement remains central to our research effort. If Parekarangi joins the programme, they will be committing to provide detailed farm data and host the occasional farmer discussion event. Field trials are optional but we hope that we can find one or more forage options that will suit Parekarangi”.
You can read more about the FRNL programme here.