SFF Project Summary

Project Title: Literature review of the cost and benefits of providing shelter for dairy farms on irrigated land on the Canterbury Plains
Grant No.: L09/023

Contact Details

Name of Applicant Group: Dairy shelter on the Canterbury plains
Contact Person: Cath Goulter
Address: AgResearch Ltd
Lincoln Research Centre
Private Bag 4749
Christchurch 8140
Telephone 1: 03 321 8654
Telephone 2:
Facsimile: 03 321 8811
Email: cath.goulter@agresearch.co.nz

Project Details

Status: finished
SFF Funding: 17,778
Total Project Funding: 28,500
Proposed Start Date: 2009-09
Proposed Finish Date: 2010-06
Region: Canterbury
Sector: Pastoral
Sub-sector: Dairy
Topic: Animal health & welfare

Updated: 7 March 2011

Final report [18K PDF]

Project description

This project will review research into the relative benefits and costs of providing shelter to dairy cows. The key topics of interest are:

The issue/opportunity

The widespread conversion of border-dyke irrigated land and dryland to spray irrigated dairy farming in recent years has resulted in the removal of extensive areas of shelter and shade trees on the Canterbury Plains.

The context/background

The impact of removing shade and shelter on dairy cow productivity and welfare is not known but important to farmers. Therefore, the main purpose of this project is to conduct a literature review of research relating to the benefits and costs of providing shelter that is compatible with spray irrigation.


Latest update

According to the literature reviewed so far there is a definite benefit in providing shelter and shade to dairy cows. The following benefits are listed below:

There is still relevant information that will be included in this review which will be completed in the next (final) reporting period.

One “gap” in the research findings is that there is no research specifically on the effects of shelter on an irrigated pastoral temperate (NZ) environment. The project team is in the process of applying for funding to further research these effects in an on-farm trial in Canterbury.