Dairy-specific science facility secured for Southland

  • Steven Joyce
Science and Innovation

A new dairy research and demonstration farm being developed in Southland will ensure the local dairy sector continually has access to the latest science and innovation, Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce says.

The Southern Dairy Hub is being funded by AgResearch, DairyNZ and the Southern Dairy Development Trust, which represents the region’s dairy farmers.

The investment recognises the scale and importance of dairying in the Southern region and aims to address the unique significant localised issues faced by Southland dairy farmers.

“As a Crown Research Institute, AgResearch is funded specifically to develop and progress science that makes improvements across the agriculture sector. Collaborating with industry is a sensible way to create a new research environment that is effectively a constant working example of the science,” Mr Joyce says.

“There will be obvious immediate benefits for local dairy farmers who will see first-hand how new techniques can help in what is a very unique climate. But the wider science community will also benefit by having a new real time research facility to utilise.”

The Hub will capitalise on industry and government investment into agricultural research and development. The proposal is well supported by farmers and the agribusiness community.

The 349ha farm at Makarewa, 15km north of Invercargill, is to be converted to dairy this season and supply the Fonterra Co-operative Group.

The Southern Dairy Hub proposal was made possible by the initial cornerstone investment made by DairyNZ and AgResearch contributing $5 million each and contributions by local farmers who raised $1.25 million to support the Hub’s establishment. The property will settle on 1 November with conversion work beginning after that.

Mr Joyce says the collaborative development is positive for the dairy sector.

“The practical pairing of science and innovation with a working farm is not a new concept, but takes significant investment and commitment. I am pleased to see DairyNZ and AgResearch working with southern farmers to find the best way to address the region’s specific needs, and be able to find and implement new and effective systems through the science.”