BPM have just secured funding of $260,000 for a trial involving feeding zeolite to cows as a tool to mitigate nitrogen losses. Optimate (BPM zeolite) will be added as a stock feed supplement aimed at reducing the amount of nitrogen excreted in urine. The full metabolic stall trial will be run and completed during Spring 2018.
All dietary nitrogen going into a sample of dairy cows will be measured as will all nitrogen leaving the animal via milk, urine and dung. It is hoped to demonstrate that zeolite feeding can significantly reduce N-excretion from lactating grazing dairy cows.
Because N-leaching associated with grazing dairy cattle is mostly a NZ issue, little research has been conducted internationally to study the potential of zeolites to lower rumen ammonium levels in healthy grazing dairy cows.
The South Waikato Investment fund has contributed $160,000 + GST towards the trial. Jenny Shattock Mayor of South Waikato says, “Any initiatives to achieve better environmental outcomes as well as retaining and growing our economy is something as a council we are fully supportive of”. $87,000 + GST has also been funded by The Agricultural and Marketing Research and Development Trust (AGMARDT). The trust funds the development of leadership, innovation and markets within the agricultural, forestry and horticultural industries of New Zealand.
Should the trials be successful, showing that Optimate has scientifically proven environmental benefits, the opportunity going forward is immense. Optimate could be scaled across the whole dairy industry as another mitigation tool to use. BPM are excited to be at the forefront of research into the sustainable future of farming in New Zealand. The results of the Spring trial will be known early 2019.