9 Aug 2010

Feed research 'should have started earlier'

1:47 pm on 9 August 2010

A grain growers' representative has welcomed studies into the use of supplementary feeds on the South Island's first dedicated dairy research farm, though says it should have started years ago.

The 56-hectare research farm was established at Lincoln University last year, in collaboration with the Dairy New Zealand organisation.

It is operating as a companion farm to Lincoln's commercial demonstration dairy unit, which has been running for some time, but on a purely pasture-based feed system.

That's been criticised by grain growers, who say that the university has been too slow in researching the impacts of grain and other supplementary feeds which are being increasingly used on many dairy farms.

Professor Grant Edwards, the university's Professor of Dairy Production, says the new research farm is investigating the role of alternative feeds, including forages and supplementary feeds, in improving milk solids production and reducing the environmental impacts of dairying.

Federated Farmers' grain and seed chair, Ian Morten, thinks though, it should started a lot sooner as some useful data could have been gathered.