boxed-arrow-leftArtboard 1Artboard 1Artboard 1Artboard 1
Open menu

Published: 20 Sep 2022

Pieter Raedts is a research fellow in the Livestock Production Centre of the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture. Pieter’s research interest are pasture feedbase, animal nutrition, precision dairy farming technology, and farming systems.

Pieter has worked as a consultant for dairy farmers and their service providers in Western Europe, and has experience with a variety of farming systems. He moved to Australia where he commenced PhD research at La Trobe University in rumen efficiency, using the markers urea and allantoin in milk, and cow mounted accelerometers to determine grazing behaviour. Pieter’s current research focus is on Pasture Feedbase, Animal Nutrition and Precision Farming Technology.

What project are you working on?
The multi-year farmlet trial at our dairy research farm TDRF in Elliott, which is part of the Dairy HIGH 2 project. This farmlet trial investigates the impact of reducing Nitrogen fertiliser applications, while changing pasture composition by adding species including clover (an N-fixing legume) and plantain (a herb), on pasture production as well as milk production from these pastures.
This project has four different treatments which we will operate as four separate farms, measuring pasture and milk production for several years in a row to enable us to test these four different systems at farm scale.

How is the project funded?
By the Dairy HIGH 2 project, co-funded by Dairy Australia and TIA/UTAS.

What challenge does your research aim to solve?
Can we reduce nitrogen fertiliser application rates on dairy farms with the aim to have a more sustainable dairy farming system in Tasmania, while maintaining pasture as well as milk production. The methods we are testing include establishing pasture with a more diverse species mix with the aim to increase biodiversity in our paddocks.
This project supports TIA’s strategic plan by investigating socially acceptable and sustainable agricultural practices, and build industry understanding of implications for their businesses and pathways to adoption. Ultimately this will result in TIA delivering solutions to agricultural problems in Tasmania and the world.

How will your research be used by the agricultural industry?
As this farmlet trial tests new methods at farm scale, the methods we test can immediately be applied by dairy farmers. And findings of our research project will help to understand what the limitations and opportunities are for each of the different 4 farmlets we are testing.

What is the best part of your job?
Being involved in applied research with dairy cows and pasture, with the findings of that research of immediate use for dairy farmers. And interacting directly with dairy farmers during research projects that included research on commercial dairy farms, and when they visit our research farm when we have a field day (we have one scheduled for early December this year).

Could you share a career highlight?
Dairy cows are amazing animals, and highlights for me are these moments, when analysing results from a trial, when the cows have responded in un-expected positive ways. An example was a recent trial where we changed the method of access to a new pasture for grazing after milking, hoping that we could see a positive milk response by cows that were milked last, as cows milked first normally already have had a first bite out of that new grass before these late-milked cows arrive in the paddock. But it turned out that the new method we tested, also unexpectedly resulted in a positive milk response for the cows milked first.

Read more about Peiter's research here