What are we doing for farmers?
The purpose of this research area, led by Derrick Moot (Lincoln University), is to develop a framework to create a national database for New Zealand forage data. Robust datasets are needed to estimate quantitative values for the growth of different forages in different locations to inform modelling and decision making. Currently, there is no common repository of databases of forage growth data from different locations, so screening of the literature (and other potential repositories, e.g. commercial organisations) is required to determine what is available and useful.
High quality datasets are needed to generate simple algorithms to enable forage production to be modelled on farm in, e.g. forage forecasters and Farmax type pasture management models. Also, high quality datasets are needed to generate simple algorithms to develop a legume map based on climate data by Landcare. Therefore, a central repository of data that can be used for pasture and forage modelling is needed. This information can then be used to inform farmers of previous work that has occurred to help inform on-farm decisions of "which legume where"?
The 3 key achievements of this research to date are:
- The creation of the framework for collecting and managing pasture growth rate and yield data from historical, current, and future pasture experiments and alignment with other databases (e.g. S-map) and farm consulting programmes, e.g. Farmax/Forage Forecaster.
- Funding from a third party (TR Ellet Trust of $225,000) has been received to develop the AgYields national database for open access by farmers, consultants, students, and researchers.
- The AgYields national database has been deployed for initial testing by potential users before it is promoted.
Ongoing and planned research
Data will continue to be extracted from publications and available (historical and current) datasets to incorporate into the new database, now called the AgYields national database.
- Screening of datasets of forage dry matter (DM) yield data from different publications is ongoing. Approximately 20,000 data points from 20 species have already been extracted (1970-2021); 3,220 red clover data points and 4,100 data points from plantain.
- There is a backward compatibility requirement to enable these data points to be easily uploaded into the new database. The deployment of the database will occur at the NZGA conference in November 2021. Ongoing funding is being sought to maintain a moderator in the role to oversee data entry and extraction.
- The first version of the database is expected to be available to users in May 2021. Further development work will be undertaken based on feedback from users and the availability of funds to undertake the programming work.
- A management map for sub clover will be published, including national guidelines on expected dates of first grazing, flowering, and closing for seed set.
‘How to videos’ will be created that will show people how to collect data on-farm and enter and extract data from the AgYields database