Recent Field-day held at Bryce McKenzies, Waikoikoi
In the past NZ Farmers took pride in the fact that New Zealand grew strong healthy clover dominated pastures. The clover was a good source of protein for livestock and also provided the necessary nitrogen needed to grow grasses. This was considered unique in the world pastoral scene. Since then we have seen a growth in the use of urea to grow pasture. Leading to, in extreme cases, very little if any clover in pastures and reduced biological activity in the soils.
There is no doubt that good levels of nitrogen are required for good strong pasture growth. Urea can provide that but is this the most efficient form of nitrogen? Gary Zimmer, a leading proponent of biological farming, states that nitrogen is the only major plant nutrient that farmers can grow themselves. Most farmers are aware of the rhizobium bacteria on legume nodules that fix nitrogen but there are also free-living bacteria such as Azobacters and Cyanobacters that fix nitrogen as well.
Regional councils are concerned about the level of nitrates and phosphates coming from farms and the consequent water pollution issues. One solution for sustainable farming is for farmers to reduce the use of urea and get back to growing their own nitrogen.
A recent field day held in West Otago hosted by Southern Soil Solutions (SSSL) and Omnia Nutriology showcased this approach. The day was based on the achievements of a fourth year dairy conversion farm at Pomahaka. The farm is owned and operated by Bryce McKenzie and his two sons Warrack and Jared. Visitors were shown strong and vigorous clover dominated pastures. The annual inputs of nitrogen over both this season and last season amounted to just 33 units of N/ha/year across the dairy platform. Even with this strong dominance of clover the McKenzie's have not had to use bloat control oils for the last two years.
The key to the development of these clover dominated pastures has been three years of consistent use of Reaction Rapid N Plus. There are a number of factors that make Reaction Rapid N Plus such a sustainable nitrogen product. The most important is of these is the addition of Nickel. Nickel is essential for urease activity in bacteria, plants and animals. It enhances the effectiveness of the urease reaction thereby making the breakdown of urea into ammonia more efficient. Nickel also plays an important role in nodulation and nitrogen fixation. The seaweed in Rapid N Plus is also a good source of food for the nitrogen fixing bacteria discussed earlier.
There is no doubt that over applying nitrogen is an issue that needs to be addressed. Strategic use of Reaction Rapid N Plus can help overcome this problem.
Photos relevant to the day are here
Presentations from the day: