Understanding the nitrogen cycle is an important part of dairy farming. Balance is the key. Too little nitrogen and pasture plants do not thrive, but too much nitrogen can be harmful to the environment.
Cows obtain nitrogen as they graze pasture plants and use it for their life processes and in milk production. When they consume more than they need, the excess is excreted as urine and dung. Pasture plants are not able to utilise all of the nitrogen, and it can be lost to leaching.
Students use auditory and visual skills to construct pictures and diagrams that show the potential pathway of nitrogen from food source to effluent to leaching.
The following resources are courtesy of Lincoln University:
- You are what you eat: nitrogen leaching – lesson plan – pdf
- Picture dictation of the nitrogen cycle – student handout – pdf
- Picture dictation of the nitrogen cycle – teacher’s version – pdf