Dr. David Houlbrooke

Science Team Leader - Environmental Research

E: David.Houlbrooke@agresearch.co.nz


BSc Earth Sciences University of Waikato 1994

MSc (Hons) Earth Sciences University of Waikato 1996

PhD Soil Science Massey University 2005


Research interests & activities


  • Land treatment of dairy effluents
  • Soil and landscape risk of land applying dairy effluent
  • Nutrient supply and characteristics of dairy effluents
  • Soil water management,
  • Soil physical quality and forage response
  • Soil compaction and pugging 
  • Nutrient loss mitigation under intensive dairy farming.

Professional Memberships

  • New Zealand Society of Soil Science (Vice President)
  • New Zealand Grassland Association
  • New Zealand Associataion of Resource Managers
  • New Zealand Land Treatment Collective


  • 2002 – Awarded the T.W Walker prize for the best oral presentation by a student at a NZSSS conference.
  • 2004 – Awarded prize for best oral presentation for the symposium on ‘soil management and water quality’ at the joint NZSSS/ASSSI conference in Sydney
  • 2006 – Maurice Fields award by the NZSSS for the outstanding PhD theses of 2005
  • 2010 – Best overall presentation award at the 2010 NZ Land Treatment Collective conference.


Houlbrooke, DJ, Paton, RP; Littlejohn, RP Morton, JD.  (2011)Land-use intensification in New Zealand: effects on soil properties and pasture production. Journal of Agricultural Science. 149, 337-349.
Laurenson S, Houlbrooke DJ. (2014) Nutrient and microbial loss in relation to timing of rainfall following surface application of dairy farm manure slurries to pasture. Soil Research. 52: 513-520
Houlbrooke, D.J.; Horne, D.J.; Hedley, M.J.; Snow, V.O.; Hanly, J.A. (2008) Land application of farm dairy effluent to a mole and pipe drained soil: implications for nutrient enrichment of winter-spring drainage Australian Journal of Soil Research 48:45-52.