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Whatawhata research farm

Location: Whatawhata, Waikato.

Farm size & type: 550 hectare (effective). Research farm, where AgResearch has done long-term monitoring of pasture growth sites for several years

Topography: North Island hill country.

Rainfall: 1,600 mm/yr.

Climate: Warm, with the occasional summer drought.

Fertiliser regime: 220 kg/ha of RPR sulphur super mix, providing 25 kg/ha of phosphate, with some strategic use of nitrogen.

Soil fertility
Plot pH Ca P K S(SO4) OS Mg Na
(a) Easy 5.3 4.6 15 10 12.2 8.4 25.4 6.6
(b) Steep 5.1 5 12.8 6.3 10.3 6.5 28.3 5.5
(c) Moderate 5.2 4.8 14 8.3 11.3 7.6 26.7 6.1

Stock numbers: n/a.

Carrying capacity: n/a.

Plot descriptions: Three sites, described as being on ‘steep’, ‘moderate’ or ‘easy’ country.

Detailed description: Instead of the large lawn mower harvested sites other farmers are using, AgResearch has 24 smaller plots scattered across a range of paddock types, strata and contours. Samples are cut with a handpiece, rather than a lawn mower.

Farmer's comments: "One of the benefits of PasturePlan is getting farmers directly involved in science. This monitoring lets them quantify what might be a gut feeling. They will have actual numbers they can use to forecast or help plan feed use or stock disposal." (Bill Carlson, science manager,)

Results published: Coast and Country, middle of each month.

Local Meat & Wool Innovation contact: Sally Hobson, Cambridge, tel 07-827 3818, cell 025-924 751, sally.hobson@mwi.co.nz


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