Reduce effluent paddock nutrient loadings

A two year Ministry project jointly funded by the Ministry of Agriculture (MAF) Sustainable Farming Fund, Environment Waikato, the Foundation for Arable Research, DairyNZ and Pioneer® brand seeds10 has shown that maize crops can be grown in high fertility paddocks, including those with a history of dairy shed effluent application, without the need for additional fertiliser to be applied.

Growing maize silage on dairy shed effluent paddocks without additional fertiliser:

  • decreases the cost per kgDM maize silage.
  • reduces excessive levels of nutrients especially nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in the soil decreasing the risk of nutrient leaching.
  • reduces the risk of milk fever caused by cows grazing very high potassium pastures.

The key rule to remember is always soil test and don't apply more nutrients than you need.


10 Foundation of Arable Research, 2009. Fertiliser response of maize grown on dairy farms. Results from year 2 (2008-09 season) maize update No. 64.