Farm Systems & Environment

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We find mitigations for environmental impacts and climate change. We improve dairy, beef, lamb and deer production systems through innovative research on soil and water management, pasture fertilisation and farm nutrients, which reduces negative impacts on critical ecosystems.

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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.

Our work includes increasing the understanding of how to reduce nutrient losses to water and greenhouse gas emissions from farming systems. 

Teams within this group

• Farm Systems
• Environmental Research
• Environmental Sciences
• Modelling
• People & Agriculture

Our Team

Alasdair Craig
Alasdair Craig

Science Group Leader
Farm Systems & Environment

Email Alasdair

Dr. Robyn Dynes
Dr. Robyn Dynes

Science Impact Leader
Farm Systems & Environment

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Dr. Tony van der Weerden
Dr. Tony van der Weerden

Science Impact Leader
Climate Change
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Dr. Warren King
Dr. Warren King

Science Impact Leader
Farm Systems & Environment
Email Warren

Dr. Seth Laurenson
Dr. Seth Laurenson

Acting Science Impact Leader
Soil & Water

Email Seth

Dr. David Houlbrooke
Dr. David Houlbrooke

Science Team Leader
Environmental Research

Email David

Dr. Ross Monaghan
Dr. Ross Monaghan

Science Team Leader
Environmental Science

Email Ross

Richard Muirhead
Richard Muirhead

Acting Science Team Leader
Modelling
Email Richard

Tracy Nelson
Tracy Nelson

Science Team Leader
People & Agriculture

Email Tracy

Dr. Sue Zydenbos
Dr. Sue Zydenbos

Science Team Leader
Farm Systems

Email Sue

SPOTLIGHT ON SCIENCE

Studying mood and emotion in livestock

Featuring Dr. Gosia Zobel & Dr. Jim Webster

New research exploring the moods and personalities of farm animals is being seen as an opportunity to better understand and enhance their welfare.
The research looks at how animals respond in new and different situations. It is the latest work by AgResearch’s Animal Welfare Team helping to expand the knowledge of livestock behaviour, at a time of growing consumer demand for strong welfare standards.

Strategic winter grazing

Featuring Dr Seth Laurenson & colleagues

With farmers always on the lookout out for simple, cheap methods to improve their farm systems, AgResearch and partner DairyNZ undertook practical research to provide just that. This strategic winter grazing research has developed low–cost approaches for farmers to better manage their land in winter conditions. Our scientists say the pick-up from farmers has been amongst the highest we have seen here at AgResearch – which tells us it’s making a real difference. Here the team talk about how they went about it, the methods, and what the areas of benefit are for the farmers.

Sharon the mutant sheep

Featuring Dr Jeff Plowman

Sharon the Felting Lustre mutant sheep has become somewhat of a celebrity since the media spotlight came on in her in early 2017. She was even featured on the BBC!
This rare kind of sheep has straight wool instead of the usual crimped wool, and presents opportunities for our scientists to learn more about the wool structure and how it might lead to new wool products, as well as what it can tell us about human hair.
In this video, AgResearch scientist Jeff Plowman – who has researched these mutant sheep - talks about Sharon and how she is helping add to our understanding.

Lasers from above to 'zap' weeds

Featuring Dr. Kioumars Ghamkhar

Drone-mounted lasers could be used to zap weeds that are posing a billion-dollar problem for New Zealand agriculture.
AgResearch – with partners the Universities of Auckland and Michigan and NZ-based technology firm Redfern Solutions Limited - was awarded just under $1 million in 2017 from the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment’s Endeavour Fund to look into how to “map and zap” the many weeds plaguing productive land.

Maori Agribusiness

Featuring Pakihiroa Farms Ltd

What aspects of Māoridom are our partners taking into consideration when farming? Hilton Collier of Pakihiroa Farms, owned by Ngati Porou, talks about their priorities in farming and how decisions are made based on five pou. AgResearch Māori Agribusiness Sector Manager, Chris Koroheke, discusses what working in Māoridom involves.
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