New dairy R&D farm in the Waikato
AgResearch to create a new dairy research and development farm in the Waikato
11 June, 2007
AgResearch has committed $6 million with the intent to create a new dairy research and development farm in the Waikato, at Tokanui just south of Te Awamutu. It plans to convert its existing dry stock farm there to dairying.
“AgResearch believes that the future for dairy farming in New Zealand is to differentiate milk behind the farm gate even before it gets to the processing factory. We are setting up this farm to undertake research on different types of high-value milk influenced by the cow’s own genetics, feed regimes, management regimes and various therapies,” said Dr Andrew West, Chief Executive of AgResearch.
Importantly, the farm will also focus on development. It will allow the many agritechnology companies from around the Waikato and elsewhere in New Zealand to test their latest on-farm technologies on a real-world, intensive dairy farm to see how well they work alongside other technologies under farming conditions.
“AgResearch is setting up this farm in collaboration with Lincoln University, Innovation Waikato Ltd, New Zealand’s leading scientific-industrial park, and the Coalition of 21st Century high schools,” said Dr West. “We also hope that the Waikato polytechnic, WINTEC, and The University of Waikato will use this farm.
“Therefore, it will not be restricted to R&D, but will include education and training for school students to PhD students to the existing dairy farming workforce. It will also play a role in commercialisation. Moreover, the farm will represent a major contribution to creating New Zealand’s most impressive commercial cluster, that of agritechnology firms across the Waikato,” said Dr West.
AgResearch is also part of a commercial partnership taking “turn key” pasture-based dairy farming into South America. The farm will become a vehicle to demonstrate the proprietary technologies of the members of the commercial partnership.
“Moreover, should the Government choose to continue to support dairy R&D at Ruakura in Hamilton, as it has done for the past 75 years and will surely do for the next 75 years, then the science generated on this high-tech farm can be fed into the Waikato’s proposed centre of the Food Innovation Network, which the Government is currently considering” said Dr West. “It’s a powerful initiative that promises much for the future of dairying in this country. I hope that all dairy farmers, and those of the Waikato in particular, will get in behind this farm and its related Food Innovation Centre,” said Dr West.