Honors Intro – Alvand Azimi

Alvand Azimi is currently studying for his Honors degree in the field of Agricultural Science, focusing on Soil Science at Lincoln University.

“I was born in New Zealand but do not come from a farming background, I have worked on various farms since 2013. My knowledge of New Zealand farming is broad and I am majoring in pedology, with minors in agronomy and animal science. I am currently working on my disertation, where I am assessing controlled release of nitrogen (N) fertilizer (Smartfert) from Bruce Smith at (Eko360 ltd). I have completed 10 weeks of summer work on sheep and beef, dairy and deer farms, with labour contributions to other farms whilst completing my academic career.

I am also working on another project, where I am quantifying the N absorption capacity of wood chips from multiple tree species. This research aims to use carbonaceous substrates as an alternative to engineered standoff pads, by using waste wood products to collect cattle bio-solids.”

Summer Research

‘Nitrogen loss from excreta can be controlled to an extent by using stand-off pads surfaced with wood materials. Most types of wood materials are suitable to be used as a stand-off base (DairyNZ, 2017). The most abundant being derived from radiata pine tree (Pinus radiata), which has been introduced for timber in New Zealand, where it is the most common tree (Knowles et al, 2010). Some hardwood sawdust produce splinters, which can damage cattle teats and skin making it unfavorable (DairyNZ, 2017). Most cows will lie down sooner on softer surfaces compared to harder surfaces and are reluctant to lie down on wet surfaces. Woodchip surfaces are the best for standoff surface material, largely due to softness and high moisture absorbance. Dairy NZ (2017) recommends to apply 40-50cm layer of woodchips over the standoff surface. The effectiveness of woodchips to absorb water and solute is little understood. Therefore an experiment was conducted to identify absorption of water applied onto woodchips, by measuring leached drained from woodchips.

The objectives of this research project was to set up a uniform experiment to determine the saturation point and drainage of dried woodchips. The effectiveness of woodchips to absorb water and solute is little understood. Therefore a uniform experiment was conducted using woodchips which were chipped from pine (Pinus. Radiata), willow (Salix. Caprea & Matsudana) and poplar (Populus. Euramericana & Deltoides). All chips were packed into columns exactly at 40cm (4760g) on top of a 10cm (5450g) soil layer. The control were columns without woodchips. Once the experiment was prepared, water was applied as a burst application 500ml/hr/column for 5hrs, afterwards applications changed to two 250ml/hr applications per day. Results from the 5 hour burst applications at 500ml exceeded the infiltration capacity of the 10cm soil layer, this was identified by a ponding effect in the control, hence applications were adjusted to two 250ml/day. The water holding capacity of woodchip treatments was greater than the control.’