Track 1-09

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A number of case studies are used to demonstrate the financial viability of precision farming methods for intensively managed pastures. Precision farming has sometimes been criticized as being technology-led where the management goals and desired outcomes are sometimes poorly defined. Case studies presented in this paper demonstrate a strong management approach where appropriate technologies are selected to contribute to the financial success of the farm. The first case study farm has increased milk production by 70% in four years, increased pasture production by 43%, reduced fertilizer costs to 43% of previous levels and has successfully predicted annual production to within 2 to 3% of actual. A strong emphasis on performance measurement is used to support a four stage management approach which consists of Planning, Measurement, Management and Review. The measurement systems in place inform the management at both strategic and operational levels and include twice daily recording of individual milk production and cow weight. The electronic identification (EID) system has been in place since 1996. The second case study farm has demonstrated similar savings in base fertiliser utilisation but has utilised other additional precision agriculture technologies such as the use of crop sensors and variable rate application of nutrients. Again a strong management focus is given, this time expressed as measure, manage, mitigate. This farming partnership also has a very strong environmental sustainability focus and recently received national recognition as the Supreme Winner of the 2013 New Zealand Ballance Farm Environmental Awards, giving further validation to the idea that precision agriculture is profitable as well as environmentally sustainable. Craige Mackenzie has also invested in precision irrigation, and there is a growing body of evidence to suggest that this method can give significant economic and environmental benefits on intensively managed pastures. Further case studies presenting the advantage of variable rate irrigation are also presented.

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Case Studies which Demonstrate the Financial Viability of Precision Dairy Farming

A number of case studies are used to demonstrate the financial viability of precision farming methods for intensively managed pastures. Precision farming has sometimes been criticized as being technology-led where the management goals and desired outcomes are sometimes poorly defined. Case studies presented in this paper demonstrate a strong management approach where appropriate technologies are selected to contribute to the financial success of the farm. The first case study farm has increased milk production by 70% in four years, increased pasture production by 43%, reduced fertilizer costs to 43% of previous levels and has successfully predicted annual production to within 2 to 3% of actual. A strong emphasis on performance measurement is used to support a four stage management approach which consists of Planning, Measurement, Management and Review. The measurement systems in place inform the management at both strategic and operational levels and include twice daily recording of individual milk production and cow weight. The electronic identification (EID) system has been in place since 1996. The second case study farm has demonstrated similar savings in base fertiliser utilisation but has utilised other additional precision agriculture technologies such as the use of crop sensors and variable rate application of nutrients. Again a strong management focus is given, this time expressed as measure, manage, mitigate. This farming partnership also has a very strong environmental sustainability focus and recently received national recognition as the Supreme Winner of the 2013 New Zealand Ballance Farm Environmental Awards, giving further validation to the idea that precision agriculture is profitable as well as environmentally sustainable. Craige Mackenzie has also invested in precision irrigation, and there is a growing body of evidence to suggest that this method can give significant economic and environmental benefits on intensively managed pastures. Further case studies presenting the advantage of variable rate irrigation are also presented.