The ‘Dairy Nitrogen Fertilizer Advisor’ – a tool to predict optimal N application rates in grazed dairy pastures

Kerry Stott, Bill Malcolm and Cameron Gourley - 60th AARES Annual Conference, Canberra, ACT, 2-5 February 2016

Type: Research Paper
Knowledge level: Advanced

Farm Table says:

Describes a really useful tool to help with N fertilizer decisions!

What is the problem?

As nitrogen (N) is the limiting factor in an intensive dairy based pasture system, a new web-based application called the ‘Dairy Nitrogen Fertilizer Advisor’ (the ‘NAdvisor’) was developed. Economic principles are used to assist dairy farmers and advisors when considering N application for grazing rotations.

What did the research involve?

The modeling for the application was based on field trials of fertilizers from 1995 – 2009 in Australia. Profit from a variable input was maximized by applying the input up until the point where the return from an extra kilogram of input applied (marginal revenue, ???) just exceeds the marginal cost (MC). The input in this case is Nitrogen in the form of urea, and this was chosen as it is the most common and the cheapest source of N for pasture-based dairies in southern Australia. The modeling also includes a ‘best bet’ for pasture consumed variation for risk and uncertainty in production outcomes. The mathematical details can be found in the paper.

What were the key findings?

The authors successfully developed a tool to help with marginal analysis and profit-maximizing principles to assist dairy farmers when considering how much N to apply. The software can also be used to investigate ‘what-if’ situations, like urea cost change or the value of DM.

Final comment

This application seems like a comprehensive tool for dairy farmers – a lot of different factors have been taken into account to try and help you make the best fertilizer decisions, maximizing profit and minimizing input.

2016 - Australia - Kerry Stott, Bill Malcolm and Cameron Gourley - 60th AARES Annual Conference, Canberra, ACT, 2-5 February 2016
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