Dairy Nitrogen for ProfitCameron Gourley, Andrew Smith, Ivor Awty, Bill Malcolm, Jenny Collins, - DPI Victoria Richard Rawnsley, Keith Pempleton - TIA, Martin Staines - DAFWA
High level objectives of our meeting:• Engagement with industry and technical experts• Improved collective understanding of the role of N in current dairy systems – How is fertiliser N being used on dairy farms? – What tools are currently used to assist in the decision process?• Improved understanding of the objectives, activities and deliverables from the ‘Dairy N for Profit’ project – How can this project contribute to more profitable N decisions?
•Introductions • Introduce yourself • Which organisation you represent • What skills and expertise you think you bring to this meeting
Dairy Nitrogen for ProfitProject objectives, outputs and activities
Dairy N for ProfitThe dairy industry is using new knowledge and innovations for improved nitrogen management decisions, which will profitability increase production while reducing N losses to the broader environment. Objectives: 1. Develop improved predictions of pasture production responses and the economic value of N fertiliser applications for different dairy systems, 2. Use production response economics and probabilistic methods to inform investment decisions about N fertiliser applications, 3. Develop a N fertiliser decision calculator that uses this new knowledge and innovative management practices, to improve N use technical efficiency and profitability, and 4. Engage strongly with industry and government, and manage the project to deliver on time, on budget, to an agreed standard.
Outputs• In depth analysis of factors affecting pasture productionresponses to N fertiliser applications from previous and currentfield studies.• Improved prediction of N-pasture response functions applyingto different dairy systems.• Development of an approach and N fertiliser decisioncalculator which incorporates economic analysis of marginalresponses to predicted N fertiliser – pasture response.• Road-testing of the N fertiliser decision calculator on casestudy dairy farms.• New information and N fertiliser decision calculator will bedelivered to key industry players.
Project outline Communications Training of Next-Users Linkages to national industry programs More efficient Demonstration of Assessment of On-farm Research information capture achievable targets Economic Value Bench marking Assessing opportunities to improve farm nitrogen use Interpretation guidelines - Pasture DM yield responses under differing animal excreted N loads - Spatial fertiliser applications Road-testing - Temporal fertiliser applications Web-based platform Industry platforms Scale = farm, management zone, paddock N Fertiliser Decision Calculator Risk and uncertainty ofMarginal input : output focus Empirical model predicted yield response conceptual model Data, database, Outcomes from previous field studies, projects & reviews
Geoffrey Gardiner Dairy Foundation Project submission Dairy Nitrogen for Greater Profit O 2 Ju 3 Ju 4 5 Ja 3 Ja 4 M 2 13 14 3 M 4 4 15 5 2 2 3 4 1 -1 -1 -1 1 1 1 -1 -1 -1 1 -1 l- 1 l- 1 l- 1 g- v- v- c- p- p- n- n- ay ay ay ar ar ar ct Au No No De Se SeJu M M M M 1. Develop improved predictions of pasture production responses and the economic value of N fertiliser applications in different dairy systems Collection of national experimental data of pasture response to N fertiliser Review and analysis of national experimental dataset Release of pasture response to N fertiliser information (from national dataset) to stakeholders for review Release of final pasture response to N fertiliser information (from national dataset) Selection and engagement with ‘case study’ dairy farms Methodology development for measurements on case study dairy farms Collection of biophysical and economic data on case study dairy farms Analysis of biophysical data from case study farms Modelling/scenario analysis focussed on N efficiency of case study farms 2. Use production response economics and probabilistic methods to inform investment decisions about N fertiliser applications Develop probabilistic economic methods using theoretical response data Economic analysis using pasture response data from national dataset Processing and economic analysis of data from case study farms 3a. Development of N fertiliser decision calculator that uses the new knowledge and innovative management practices Review available N fertiliser decision calculators Develop prototype N fertiliser decision calculator Evaluation of pasture response curves and N fertiliser decision calculator using case study data Incorporation of production response economics and probabilistic data into N fertiliser decision calculator 3b. Develop training modules Development of general training (ffocussed on economic reponses to N) using response curves from the national dataset Development of training using beta version of N fertiliser calculator Package data from of case study farms into training modules/material 4. Engage strongly with industry and government, and manage the project Communication & evaluation plan development Implimentation of communication and evaluation strategy (on going) Delivery of Project Milestones (6 monthly) Meeting of Project Advisory Committee (6 monthly) Independent project review Project completion & closure
Dairy N for ProfitLikely scale of benefits• Australian dairy industry worth around $3.4 billion at the farm-gate level, exports worth$2.4 billion; directly employs 40,000 people (Dairy Australia 2010).• Greater gains in productivity (output from input), and production of milk solids per hanecessary.• Australian dairy farmers use approximately 180,000 T of fertiliser N annually; costingaround $200m, equivalent to $30,000 per farm on average, and 4-7% of total farm costs• Increasingly held accountable for the environmental performance of their operationsand N losses are strongly related to N inputs per hectare.• More sophisticated decisions about N fertiliser inputs for individual dairy systems.Estimates of net benefit• A saving of 20% in dairy farm N fertiliser costs ($6000 pa) with the sameoutput on 50% of dairy farms (3500 dairy farms), would provide an industrywide benefit of $21m and around $3000 per farm annually.
Risks are assessed as low, given:1. Existing expertise and strong track record in nutrient mgt, on-farm research and dairy farm economics - leading research teams in Australia.2. Existing data sources and modelling approaches and tools available3. Strong links between project team and fertiliser and dairy industry stakeholders.4. Well defined avenues for information transfer directly to the fertiliser and grazing industries, as well as other key stakeholders.Some potential project risks include:• A lack of quality data available to develop the N fertiliser responsefunctions.• Team members don’t meet timelines for data provision around Nfertiliser or do not provide the quality of information required.• Participating farmers initially involved choose to opt out of the study.• Quality of analytical data is poor or questionable.• Loss of project staff• Unfavourable climatic conditions and emergency response.• Project over- expenditure.
Key DPIV Linkages:Bill Malcolm and team (FFSR Farming Systems modelling)Scott McDonald, Frank Mickan (FSV dairy extension)Kevin Kelly and team (FFSR nitrous oxide mitigation)Glen Fitzgerald (FFSR Remote Sensing)National and International collaborators:Drs Richard Rawnsley (TIA) and Martin Staines (DAFWA)Dr Michael Russelle (USDA – ARS DFRC and University of Minnesota); Dr Mark Powell(USDA –ARS DFRC and University of Wisconsin); Dr John Lory (University Missouri)Dr James Humpheries (Teagasc, Ireland)Drs Ross Monaghan, Mark Sheppard and David Wheeler (AgResearch NZ).Co-investmentN use efficiency from economic, production and environmental perspectives has been identifiedas a high priority within Dairy Moving Forward (DMF): Research, Development and ExtensionPriorities for the Australian Dairy Industry (December 2010).• Geoffrey Gardiner Dairy Foundation• DPI Victoria • Major milk processing companies (Murray Goulburn, Fonterra, Bega Cheese) • Incitec-Pivot • Fertiliser Industry Federation of Australia• Dairy Australia - currently funding N loss pathway projects