Your online orders cannot currently be placed through your PGW Customer Account Web login. Please contact our online support team for more information.

Ecotain® environmental plantain aids nitrogen management

Ecotain® environmental plantain aids nitrogen management

Ecotain® environmental plantain aids nitrogen management

Since the purchase of Waiorongomai Valley Farm, a 66 ha dairy farm in Tatuanui, Johan and Kylie van Rus has been on a journey towards improving their financial and environmental sustainability, including growing Ecotain® environmental plantain.

Ecotain is a proven plantain cultivar that can reduce nitrate leaching from the urine patch using four independent mechanisms. Ecotain has the potential to reduce nitrate leaching from the paddock by up to 60 percent and is a suitable component in the pasture sward for helping improve summer and autumn growth and quality over perennial ryegrass.

When Johan and Kylie purchased the farm in a 50/50 partnership with Johan’s parents, they looked at more accurate and strategic nitrogen (N) fertiliser applications, increasing their effluent irrigation area, reducing stocking rate, building a concrete feed pad to reduce pugging damage and finally retiring an area at the back of the farm to a 4 ha wetland. Making these changes improved profitability by reducing nitrate leaching, and led them to win the Waikato Supreme Award in the 2021 Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Johan and Kylie seek solutions that are proven and well-researched. In 2021, Ecotain was recognised in Overseer as the only plantain proven to reduce nitrate leaching from the urine patch. This was the deciding moment for Johan, “having the research behind it and being recognised in Overseer was what got me started.”

In spring 2021, Johan started undersowing Ecotain. After advice from his PGG Wrightson Technical Field Representative Scott Daubney, he broadcast 8 kg of prillcote Ecotain in early spring with an oscillating oversower. This has proven to be successful, establishing a 20 percent plantain population within the pasture.

Since implementing Ecotain, there has been essentially no change to their current system. ‘‘There are few tools available for reducing nitrate leaching from the animal. Ecotain complements the whole system including perennial ryegrass production, so it is a win-win. The cows often favour Ecotain when they first go into the paddock.”

Johan’s goal is to get 30 percent of the farm oversown with Ecotain, resulting in a further 6 kg of N per ha per year reduction in N leaching.

Working with Scott has been vital to achieving good results. ‘‘I just ring Scott and he always provides a solution; his service is fantastic. With Ecotain being an important part of our farm’s future, we work closely with Scott around chemical recommendations and planning for weed control.”

For information on how Ecotain® environmental plantain could benefit your farm, contact your local PGG Wrightson Technical Field Representative.