Is it commercially viable to use dicyandiamide on a dairy farm in south-western Victoria? - Tim Huggins


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Is it commercially viable to use dicyandiamide on a dairy farm in south-western Victoria? - Tim Huggins

  1. 1. Timothy Huggins MSLE, The University of Melbourne Is it commercially viable to use dicyandiamide on a dairy farm in south-western Victoria? Co-authors: Kevin Kelly (DPIV), Helen Suter (UoM), Richard Eckard (UoM & DPIV), Richard Rawnsley (TIAR)
  2. 2. Short answer <ul><li>No. Not at this stage. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Outline <ul><li>Aims and objectives </li></ul><ul><li>Background </li></ul><ul><li>Dairy Greenhouse Accounting Framework </li></ul><ul><li>Average south-western Victorian farm </li></ul><ul><li>Results </li></ul><ul><li>Summary and conclusions </li></ul>
  4. 4. Aims and objectives <ul><li>Decreased nitrous oxide emissions </li></ul><ul><li>Increased pasture dry matter grown </li></ul><ul><li>Economically feasible </li></ul><ul><li>Barriers to adoption </li></ul>
  5. 5. Nitrous oxide Dairy 6.5 t CO 2 e/cow 10.2 t CO 2 e/ha Adapted from Eckard 2008 and Christie 2009 <ul><li>N 2 O = 4% of Australia’s GHG emissions </li></ul><ul><li>Predominantly produced by agriculture – 86% </li></ul><ul><li>Major sources are N fertiliser management, animal waste management, and soil cultivation </li></ul><ul><li>Also need to include indirect production (N0 3 - leaching, run-off and NH 4 + volatilisation) </li></ul>
  6. 6. The power of urine <ul><li>Animal urine accounts for 2/3 of the N 2 O from animal production </li></ul><ul><li>Urine patch = approx. 1000 kg N/ha equivalent </li></ul><ul><li>Urine patches cover 10-30% of farm in 12 months </li></ul><ul><li>Eg. If urine covers 20% of farm at 1000 kg N/ha = 200 kg N/ha on top of 106 kg N applied. </li></ul><ul><li>Can be huge excess of N in soil available for N 2 O production – distribution issue </li></ul>
  7. 7. DCD, nitrous oxide, and the N cycle NH 2 OH <ul><li>NO 3 - can be lost through leaching or as nitrous oxide </li></ul><ul><li>Indirect losses also reduced </li></ul><ul><li>DCD lifespan depends on soil T, moisture, pH, O.M. </li></ul><ul><li>Nitrosomonas goes back to work after 2-3 months </li></ul><ul><li>10 kg a.i. Applied twice per year </li></ul>
  8. 8. Dairy Greenhouse Accounting Framework <ul><li>Based on Australian National Greenhouse Gas </li></ul><ul><li>Inventory methods </li></ul><ul><li>Farm Monitor Project (DPIV), Dairy Situation and </li></ul><ul><li>Outlook Report (DA) </li></ul>DMD = 78% CP = 23% DM Source: Australian Methodology for the Estimation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks 2006
  9. 9. Average south-western Victorian dairy farm
  10. 10. Results <ul><li>Cost of DCD application $165/ha </li></ul><ul><li>2 options to cover this cost </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reduction in nitrous oxide ($4.80/ha) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Increase in pasture DM ($70-100/ha) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Total return approx. $105/ha </li></ul><ul><li>Nett result: $165 - $105 = -$60/ha </li></ul><ul><li>More detail.... </li></ul>
  11. 11. Reducing nitrous oxide - C trading pays
  12. 12. Increasing pasture dry matter – milk pays <ul><li>What is possible? </li></ul><ul><li>Likely response 0-35% increase from 2 applications (de Klein and Eckard, 2008) </li></ul><ul><li>Eco-N (Ravensdown) advertised as 20% increase = 560 kg DM in our case (7.6% across paddock) </li></ul><ul><li>560 kg DM = 48 kg MS (0.08 kg MS/kg DMI) </li></ul><ul><li>48 kg MS = $216/ha @ $4.95/kg MS </li></ul><ul><li>Nett return = $216 - $165 = $50/ha </li></ul><ul><li>BUT... we know that there could be issues with: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Utilisation (not 100%, probably 60-70% but what about substitution?) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Extra costs associated with turning that pasture into milk (look at marginal response per litre) </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Our trial <ul><li>6 commercial dairy farms in South-west Vic (range in soil, temperature and rainfall) </li></ul><ul><li>Spring (2009) and Autumn (2010) applications </li></ul><ul><li>Control vs Urine either at start or 1 month later – all repeated with and without DCD (6 treatments in total) </li></ul><ul><li>Autumn 2010 schedule: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>T1. Nil urine applied. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>T2. Nil urine applied + DCD applied April. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>T3. Urine applied May. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>T4. DCD applied April, Urine applied May. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>T5. Urine applied April. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>T6. Urine + DCD applied April. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>4 replicates of each treatment in RCBD, excised from grazing </li></ul><ul><li>Soil testing, nitrous oxide measurements, pasture DM harvesting </li></ul>
  14. 14. Increasing pasture dry matter – our results <ul><li>What did we find? </li></ul><ul><li>0-15% increase in pasture DM in urine patches </li></ul><ul><li>3 farms in each season with significant increases (but not the same 3) and mostly in response to the urine at the start </li></ul><ul><li>Farms with significant results all had different soil types, rainfall patterns and N fertiliser usage (background N would be different) </li></ul><ul><li>Only in the second season was there an increase from DCD on control = idea of what happens between urine patches. This farm applied 266 kg N during the season – potential DCD impact on the fertiliser </li></ul><ul><li>Across the whole paddock result = 2.5-3.75% increase in pasture DM (180-270 kg DM/ha) </li></ul><ul><li>Nett return of $70-$100 per hectare without considering additional costs and assuming 100% utilisation </li></ul>
  15. 15. Summary and conclusions <ul><li>None of the potential benefits are big enough at this stage – need to show improvement in production/profitability </li></ul><ul><li>Factors that would increase viability </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Future research showing larger increases in pasture DM </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Increased fertiliser price </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reduced DCD price </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Need ETS rather than a C price </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. © Copyright The University of Melbourne 2008