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Phase One Of Ground-Breaking Project To Close

19 November 2008

For immediate release

Phase One Of Ground-Breaking Project To Close

DairyNZ is ending Phase One of its robotic milking research project at Greenfield Farm at Newstead and the farm will close on 31 May 2009.

“In a sense, our work is done here. The automated milking systems project initiated by the late Dr Murray Woolford has made tremendous progress against original expectations and automated milking systems are now operating on commercial farms this season within New Zealand,” said Dr Tim Mackle, DairyNZ Chief Executive.

Operations at the Greenfield site will be wound up when the lease expires in May, and scoping for Greenfield Phase II is already under way.

“I would like to sincerely acknowledge the innovative thinking and hard work and effort put into this key project by many DairyNZ staff over the last few years, in particular Murray Woolford who along with Dr Jenny Jago and others have shown great leadership,” said Dr Mackle.

No positions have been lost as a result of the decision.

DairyNZ Chief Scientist Dr Eric Hillerton described the Greenfield Project as the single most important agricultural attraction in the North Island.

“We’ve hosted hundreds of international visitors, from Chinese Premier Hu Jintao to many of New Zealand’s innovative dairy farmers.

“Since 2001 this project has shown proof of concept, has been developed stage by stage from one robot to two, had cow selection added, been used for experiment after experiment, been a platform to test many other new technologies and hosted controlled systems trials.

“The knowledge gained is now supporting the first commercial automatic (robotic) milking systems on farms in New Zealand. The dream has become a reality,” he said.


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