Science groups


Animal Science

The Animal Science group encompasses a wide range of disciplines, with the purpose of improving the nutrition, health, quality traits and reproductive performance of animals to achieve efficient and sustainable animal production and delivery of high quality animal products.

We use a broad range of nutrition, physiology and genomics-based research tools to improve economically important traits such as survival, growth rate, health, fecundity, meat and milk production (yield and quality) and disease resistance while minimising environmental impact and use of chemicals in ruminant livestock production.

Our teams have recognised expertise in the parasitic and infectious diseases of pastoral livestock, animal genomics, ruminant nutrition and animal physiology including reproduction and microbiology behind healthy, productive and efficient ruminant livestock.

Our research covers the spectrum of fundamental to applied science that focuses on high quality science-driven research.  We have access to fully-equipped dairy, sheep and beef farms with modern facilities for on-farm animal trials, and fully equipped animal facilities for more detailed trials for small and large ruminants including the NZ Ruminant Methane Measurement Centre.  Our laboratory facilities are well appointed to support the range of research undertaken.

DNA testing analyses are provided through GenomNZ™ which includes DNA profiling, parentage testing, pedigree verification, sire/dam match, DNA-match, identity test, hybrid identification and single gene tests.  We also retain core service in embryology and semen biology and provide advice to artificial breeding organisations and embryo technology practitioners. We also undertake independent product testing services for commercial clients.

Teams within this group
  • Animal Nutrition & Physiology
  • Animal Health
  • Rumen Microbiology
  • Animal Genomics
  • GenomNZ
  • Animal Reproduction
  • Animal Welfare

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Food & Bio-based Products

The role of the Foods & Bio-based Products group is to create the knowledge and tools to develop high value foods, ingredients and products from pastoral-based agriculture.

We focus on the production and supply of the consumer goods that are the end result of the agricultural value chain, with the outputs tailored to market and consumer preferences.

We research, develop and produce a diverse range of consumer materials from meat and dairy foods, woollen carpet and fabric, health and beauty products to the tools and machinery to support these industries.

Teams within this group

  • Dairy Foods
  • Food Assurance & Meat Quality
  • Food Nutrition & Health
  • Proteins & Biomaterials
  • Textiles

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Forage Science

We develop new tools and technologies to improve on-farm productivity, enhance the performance of New Zealand’s pastoral, agricultural and biotechnology industries and build on New Zealand’s position at the forefront of these sectors. The supporting research we carry out will lead to new commercial and knowledge opportunities in the future.

Our teams are engaged in underpinning science and plant breeding research to create high-performance forage legume and grass varieties for New Zealand farms and the international market. We develop animal safe endophyte strains that add value to production from elite grasses, and are also pursing R&D related to biofuels, speciality forages, new endophyte traits and animal/forage interactions.

Our group is home to world-leading teams in the genetic development of forages and encompasses a broad range of capabilities with staff working in areas from fundamental to applied research. The majority of our cultivars are commercialised through Grasslanz Technology.

Teams within this group
  • Forage Breeding
  • Soil Biology
  • Germplasm Development
  • Plant Fungal Interactions
  • Biocontrol & Biosecurity
  • Plant Biotechnology

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Farm Systems & Environment

The Farm Systems & Environment Group is concerned with improving production systems through innovative research to create more profitable and sustainable farms and agribusiness. Collectively, our research provides the capacity to understand complex interconnected agricultural issues of interest to both the industry and the public.

Teams within this group
  • Farm Systems
  • Environmental Research
  • Environmental Sciences
  • Modelling
  • People & Agriculture

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Knowledge and Analytics

The Knowledge and Analytics group works very closely with researchers in meeting their knowledge and information resources needs.  It also collaborates with internal and external scientists in providing data analysis solutions. The group is made up of two diverse teams – Library & Knowledge Services (Knowledge) and Bioinformatics & Statistics (Analytics).

Teams within this group
  • Library & Knowledge Services
  • Bioinformatics & Statistics

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