The Hill Country Futures Partnership programme has created a series of factsheets to support farmers and rural professionals to make informed decisions around soil assessment and fertiliser use to optimise growth of forages for their farm system.
The Soil and Fertiliser series of 11 factsheets are the latest resource to be provided through the programme. Topics were selected by Professor Derrick Moot who is co-ordinating the Lincoln University science team involved in a number of the projects within the programme.
The long-term $8.1m programme is focused on future proofing the profitability, sustainability and wellbeing of New Zealand’s hill country farmers, their farm systems, the environment and rural communities. It differs from most pastoral-based research in that it considers the whole-farm system and, critically, the wider communities these systems exist within.
It incorporates traditional science research, farmer knowledge, social research and citizen science and has a strong emphasis on forages and providing decision-making tools to help farmers select the best forage option for different land management units.
Mhairi Sutherland, Hill Country Futures Programme Manager, said the factsheets would help support decision-making by farmers and rural professionals.
“Hill country can be challenging due to its diverse landscapes, so it is important to provide the best decision-making tools to help farmers optimise their forages and farm systems.”
The factsheets cover:
- Trace element requirements
- Aluminium toxicity
- Nitrogen fertiliser use
- Sulphur requirements
- Soil and pasture testing protocols
- Nutrient and lime requirements for red and white clover swards
- Potassium requirements
- Phosphorus requirements
- Lime use
- Fertiliser and lime strategies
- Nutrient and lime requirements for lucerne.
The factsheets are available in the ‘news and resources’ section at www.hillcountryfutures.co.nz. Resources also include the Farmer Perspective series, covering issues such as economic diversification, succession, and barriers and opportunities for on-farm environmental action.
The site also links to the AgYields national forage database, another outcome of the programme. This is a central repository for all pasture and crop yield data and growth rate information collected in New Zealand. It allows farmers to see which pastures and crops have been grown in their districts and how much was grown, to help with the selection of more suitable and resilient forages.