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Reduce Nitrogen leaching and maintain high quality feed with Ecotain® environmental plantain.

With the potential for a dry season ahead and the unpredictable, extreme weather patterns Australian Farmers are experiencing, reliable access to usable water is imperative for ample homegrown feed and well-fed livestock.

The following article explores how sowing Ecotain® environmental plantain can help achieve both by providing high quality, protein-rich feed now; whilst helping to reduce the impacts of nitrate leaching contaminating your water in the future.

Melissa Gooseman, DLF Seeds Product Development Manager, explains, "Livestock urine patches are the most significant cause of nitrate leaching which is a major contributor of ground/surface water contamination and harmful algae growths (eutrophication) within a farms water source. 

This can lead to major environmental impacts and reduce a farms access to clean/usable water in the future". Says Melissa

Significant rain events cause nitrates to move from the urine patch, through the soil profile and into underground water/water sources.

VIDEO: Dr Glenn Judson speaking about Ecotain environmental plantain in Oxford, Canterbury NZ.

Whilst the soil can capture and hold a significant amount of Nitrogen, the risk appears when there is a large downpour.

“All soil types are different. Some soils may hold 60-70mm before draining, while others may only be 15-20mm before draining, which is when nitrate leaching becomes an issue and could impact your water source." Says Mel

Ecotain® combines four modes of action that work together to reduce Nitrogen leaching from the urine patch and more efficiently holds that Nitrogen during rainfall events. 

The four modes are:

Dilute: Ecotain® increases the volume of urine animals produce, which means the Nitrogen being excreted is diluted, resulting in a reduced Nitrogen load in the urine patch.

Reduce: Ecotain® reduces the amount of dietary Nitrogen which is excreted in urine, compared with ryegrass. This reduces the amount of Nitrogen released into the soil via the urine patch.

Delay: In urine patches from animals grazing Ecotain®, the conversion from ammonium to nitrate is delayed. Slower conversion allows plants a greater opportunity to uptake Nitrogen, significantly reducing the potential for leaching, especially during high rainfall events.

Restrict: The presence of Ecotain® plants in the soil reduces nitrification, likely through the effect of a biological nitrification inhibitor.

Dr Glenn Judson, Nutritional and Farm Systems Specialist says "It’s pretty exciting science when you can find four separate functions all working towards one common goal."

So, what does this mean for the Australian farmer?  

"From an agronomic perspective, if 20-30% of your pasture mix contains Ecotain®, the positive environmental benefits from reduced Nitrogen leaching (mentioned above) may be experienced, especially after a high rainfall event". Says Melissa

The quality of your pasture mix will not be compromised and may even be improved. This is because Ecotain® has a highly digestible nature making it an excellent option for both breeding and finishing stock classes. 

"It also contributes invaluable dry matter production during summer and early autumn when ryegrass pastures may struggle." Says Melissa. 

By sowing Ecotain®, the only proven environmental plantain to operate using the four modes of action, farmers can benefit from pasture diversity and a high protein, mineral rich food source whilst limiting the amount of Nitrogen lost from their farm system.

"Which is great for healthy, happy stock, a good thing for your water quality and, a huge benefit to the environment". Melissa concludes. 

Ecotain® environmental plantain is a great addition to your beef, sheep or dairy operation. To learn more about Ecotain®, visit or contact your local DLF Seeds Sales Agronomist for advice on the best Ecotain pasture mix for your operation.