2,739 research outputs found

    The potential cost to New Zealand dairy farmers from the introduction of nitrate-based stocking rate restrictions

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    Introducing a stocking rate restriction is one possible course of action for regulators to improve water quality where it is affected by nitrate pollution. To determine the impact of a stocking rate restriction on a range of New Zealand dairy farms, a whole-farm model was optimised with and without a maximum stocking rate of 2.5 cows per hectare. Three farm systems, which differ by their level of feed-related capital, were examined for the changes to the optimal stocking rate and optimal level of animal milk production genetics when utility was maximised. The whole-farm model was optimised through the use of an evolutionary algorithm called differential evolution. The introduction of a stocking rate restriction would have a very large impact on the optimally organised high feed-related capital farm systems, reducing their certainty equivalent by almost half. However, there was no impact on the certainty equivalent of low feed-related capital systems.environmental regulation, dairy farms, whole-farm model, evolutionary algorithm

    Choosing the best forage species for a dairy farm: The Whole-farm approach

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    Although a handful of forage species such as perennial ryegrass are predominant, there are a wide range of forage species that can be grown in sub tropical and temperate regions in Australia as dairy pastures. These species have differing seasonal yields, nutrient quality and water use efficiency characteristics, as demonstrated in a large study evaluating 30 species University of Sydney in New South Wales, Australia. Some species can be grazed, while others require mechanical harvesting that incurs a further cost. Previous comparisons of species that relied on yields of dry matter per unit of some input (typically land or water) cannot simultaneously take into account the season in which forage is produced, or other factors related to the costs of production and delivery to the cows. To effectively compare the profitability of individual species, or combinations of species, requires the use of a whole-farm model. Linear programming was used to find the most profitable mix of forage species for an irrigated dairy farm in an irrigation region of New South Wales, Australia. It was concluded that a typical farmer facing the prevailing milk and purchased feed prices with average milk production per cow would find a mix of species including large proportions of perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) and prairie grass (Bromus willdenowii) was most profitable. The result was robust to changes in seasonal milk pricing and moving from year round to seasonal calving patterns.Dairy, Forage, Whole-farm, Linear programming

    'One size fits all'? Ð The relationship between the value of genetic traits and the farm system

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    The wide use of artificial insemination by dairy farmers has facilitated the development of a multi-billion dollar international market in animal genetics. In the major western dairy producing nations, each country has developed a single index to rank bulls, based on the value of traits they are expected to pass on to their offspring. One of the assumptions behind these indexes is that there is a positive linear relationship between profit (and welfare) with increases in a particular trait, regardless of the farm system. In this paper, it is shown, with examples, that the assumption of linearity is false. More importantly, it is shown that for a combination of reasons, including risk aversion, constraints and other issues, the optimal direction of genetic improvement for New Zealand dairy farmers on an individual and industry level could be quite different. Alternatives to the Òone size fits allÓ index are described.

    Interview with Walter Hooper

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    Interview with Walter Hoope