SFF Project Summary
||Literature review of the cost and benefits of providing shelter for dairy farms on irrigated land on the Canterbury Plains
|Name of Applicant Group:
||Dairy shelter on the Canterbury plains
Lincoln Research Centre
Private Bag 4749
||03 321 8654
||03 321 8811
|Total Project Funding:
|Proposed Start Date:
|Proposed Finish Date:
||Animal health & welfare
Updated: 7 March 2011
Final report [18K PDF]
This project will review research into the relative benefits and costs of providing shelter to dairy cows. The key topics of interest are:
- Dairy cow welfare
- Impact on production; milksolids, pasture growth, evapotranspiration, soil erosion
- Risk and protection of infrastructure
- Visual amenity and biodiversity
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 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.
- Literature search and review of current research relating to dairy shelter.
- Collate and summarise findings in a report presented to farmer group, sent out through various dairy farmer databases, submitted to the SIDE committee as a discussion paper at SIDE Conference and submitted to the SFF website.
- Topics which remain unanswered by the current research will be identified and prioritised for future research.
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
- Cow production increases
- Water use efficiency increases
- Plant (pasture) growth increases
- Soil erosion decreases.
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.