Stuff: 28 February 2018

Canterbury dairy farm gets serious about nitrogen leaching

A Mid-Canterbury dairy group’s five farms are working together to reduce its nitrate leaching, writes Heather Chalmers.

Mid-Canterbury dairy farm Align Longfield is taking on the challenge of reducing its nitrogen leaching while maintaining profitability.

Longfield is part of the Align Farms group which has four dairy farms and a dairy support unit in Mid-Canterbury, totalling 1600 hectares and milking 4000 cows. Align is owned by John Buchanan who spends half a year in New Zealand and the other half in the United States.

Situated alongside SH1, just north of the Rangitata River, Longfield is managed by Matt and Sam Bell. In their first season, 2015, Matt won the Young Farmer of the Year title.

The 283ha farm was bought in 2012 and converted to dairy, redeveloped and totally regrassed ready for milk supply by July 2013. Longfield milks 1100 cows at peak (4 cows a hectare), with milk solids production of 464,500kg, or 1689kg/ha.