A simple device for ensuring the addition of nitrogen inhibitors to urine patches from the cow during urination

This exciting - if slightly ‘left-field’ - invention has been gradually refined over a period of 6 years by Dr Bert Quin and aided more recently by Dr Peter Bishop of Bishop Research Ltd.

The ‘Taurine’ (Tail-Activated URine Incorporation of Nitrogen Extenders) device consists of a thin plastic tube, which is filled with pellets of nitrification and urease inhibitors, and perforated at the lower end. The top of the tube is attached to a locator ring near the top of the cow’s tail, which is itself attached by a strap to a small glue-pad on the cows rump (similar in size to mating detectors). When the cow raises its tail to urinate, the tube hangs vertically from the ring, ensuring it intercepts at some point the urine stream. The urine dissolves and washes out some of the inhibitor at the lower end of the tube, allowing some to be incorporated into the urine and therefore onto the urine patch. The size of the perforations ensures that the appropriate amount of inhibitor is washed out by each urination.

Taurine Devices:

Taurine devices are currently being feasibility-tested on a herd of cows near Feilding. The cows have quickly accepted the attachment, which have remained fastened for a month now, and are dispensing an acceptable quantity of N inhibitor. Looking good for a full-scale scientific test!

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Latest News & Views

"The awarding of a $9.5 million Public Good Fund grant to Ballance late last year, for research into improving N and P efficiency and the development of biological pest control methods hopefully reflects a great leap forward in attitude by Ballance.

While there is concern that the grant will be spent on a variety of ‘dead-end’ research topics, rather than truly promising areas for advancement, I sense, from public comments from Ballance staff recently, a real desire to make breakthroughs in nutrient efficiency. This is likely to be in part driven by Ballance’s diversification into other areas such as animal feed and health products. An increasing proportion of farm nutrient input – and therefore nutrient loading on the environment – is coming from bought-in feed, at least on dairy farms. This in turn means we need to develop our understanding of what fertilisers and additives are going to be most effective to supplement these inputs, while minimising adverse effects on the environment. The days when all that mattered was maximising sales tonnages are finally over, I believe.

Group One looks forward to seeing in detail what research projects are initiated with the various research institutes and universities."