A new research facility and dairy shed is expected to boost on-farm research capability and facilities in the lower North Island for Massey University and AgResearch.
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WARWICK SMITH/STUFF Massey University’s Paul Kenyon, left, and David Pacheco of AgResearch at the new research facility at Massey’s dairy four farm.

Work is nearly complete on the new facility at Massey’s dairy four farm.

The university and AgResearch have been working on the project, which will allow for greater interaction between staff and students from Massey and AgResearch, and allow for independent trials to run.

The farm, next to Massey’s Palmerston North campus, has about 600 spring calving cows and is the largest of the university’s two farms.

Massey’s head of school of agriculture and environment professor Paul Kenyon said the new facilities would allow detailed research projects on the farm to be done at the same time as its usual operations.

“The new facilities will boast two rotary milking platforms which will allow detailed research projects to take place alongside the farm’s daily operations,” he said.

“Other new facilities include a covered veterinary area for individual cow measurements and a multi-lane feed pad to enable differential feeding to various groups of cows.

“There will also be an effluent treating system, a data centre within the shed to store and manage research data, a teaching room and a biosecurity station.”

He said the partnership with AgResearch would help Massey build on its reputation of contributing world-leading research, in partnership with industry, on matters of national and international interest.

David Pacheco, left, and Paul Kenyon in the yard at the new facility.
WARWICK SMITH/STUFF David Pacheco, left, and Paul Kenyon in the yard at the new facility.

Those matters include environmental impacts of climate change, biosecurity, animal welfare and economic threats posed by innovations in food production.

AgResearch science objective leader and principal scientist Dr David Pacheco said it was rewarding to see the progress at the farm after the decision several years ago to invest with Massey in its development.

“With the expanded facilities available to us at the dairy four farm, we will be able to grow our science in critical areas such as greenhouse gas research, animal nutrition and health, through to finding ways to increase the value of New Zealand’s dairy products,” he said.

“Our partnership with Massey means we can make the most out of combining our resources and expertise, while the close physical proximity of the farm to our respective facilities in Palmerston North makes everything simpler and more efficient.”

The partnership meant they could work together to develop the next generation of researchers to deal with complex issues.

“All of this benefits our dairy industry in New Zealand, and ultimately New Zealand as a leading international dairy producer.”

The farm is well known for its research into nutrient losses on heavy soils and recent collaborative work on partial housing systems for dairy cows.

It has been running for about 46 years and complements Massey’s dairy one farm, a 260-cow farm beside the Manawatū River.

Work started a year ago and the shed has been operational since December. It was previously a paddock.

In dairy risk management, one size does not fit all. Throughout recent history, a number of dairy-related risk management programs, some available through private crop insurance providers and others available through the Farm Service Agency (FSA), have been designed to fill gaps in protection against market risk and uncertainty.

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