The programme, which included sheep and beef farming as well as dairy, began in 2007 and saw teams from many research organisations work together on a range of research and farmer adoption programmes.
P21 was run in two phases. Phase II drew on the work of Phase I and aimed to produce efficiency gains which reduced the environmental footprint while maintaining production gains.
Objectives covered three broad areas:
- Next generation dairy systems: dairy production systems were tested in four key dairy regions, using readily adoptable approaches expected to increase profitability from production while reducing nutrient losses to water. Researchers found that profitability can be maintained while reducing nutrient losses by significant amounts.
- Lifting profitability for mixed livestock systems: to optimise and utilise forage grown on farms where lambs and young beef animals are finished on hill country.
- Breakthrough technologies: to prove new concepts that have the potential to change the relationship between production gains and environmental footprint.
Phase II’s goals were to achieve:
- $110/ha/year increase in average profitability from dairy production, with a 30% reduction in nitrogen and phosphorus losses to water
- 3% annual meat productivity increase, while containing or reducing environmental footprint.
With the research programme now at an end, researchers are mining results to turn findings into materials for farmers.