3 Mar 2015

Farmers 'should consider barns'

3:19 pm on 3 March 2015

A visiting Dutch agriculture leader says dairy farmers should consider making greater use of barns to increase milk production and reduce environmental footprints.

Topsector Agri&Food Netherlands President Aalt Dijkhuizen

Aalt Dijkhuizen Photo: RNZ / Jemma Brackebush

Aalt Dijkhuizen is the president of Topsector Agri&Food, a collaboration between businesses, tertiary education institutions and the government in the Netherlands.

He has been giving lectures at universities around the country and meeting stakeholders in the agri and food industry this week.

The use of barns for relieving pressure on pasture in winter time has been becoming more common in dairy farms here.

But Dr Dijkhuizen said New Zealand should carry out further research into the potential of barns, which were a lot more common in the Netherlands, where farmers were getting double the milk production from their cows.

"Once you go for a winter barn, maybe it's also profitable to adjust a few other things, that is what you have to find out ... So when you put a barn in, you come closer to supplementary feed, you come closer to a year-round system, you have the possibility to process the manure, so there are many things behind it, which you should also think through and whether it can help you."

Dr Dijkhuizen said New Zealand should not abandon its unique system but adopt the best elements that were proven to work in Holland.

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