We use the latest in science innovation and digital technology to enhance, integrate and transform agricultural production from the paddock and the consumer.

Our Science

Turning data into knowledge and solutions

As the world considers the ongoing challenge of producing more food, more sustainably on a planet with scarce resources and a changing climate, we must consider our role in finding adoptable solutions.

New tools in our armoury are starting to appear: the increasing miniaturisation of technologies, the reducing cost of telecommunications and data storage, the increasing computing power and the development of artificial intelligence and analytics are converging to offer the possibility that ‘digitalisation of agriculture’ can offer new solutions to these highly complex systems.

These tools will help us as we improve productivity, quality, security and safety of agricultural systems through novel research programmes, digital technologies, and advanced data analytics.

Sensors to catch crucial data

Urine sensors allow us to better understand how nitrogen is being excreted by cows and therefore, how best to tackle the impacts on the environment.

The sensors are attached to grazing dairy cows and take detailed measurements every time the cow urinates. These measurements include the concentration of nitrogen in the urine that can potentially leach into soil and waterways, and can cause damage such as algal blooms. The sensors record the data through the use of multiple instruments, with data stored in a data logger that can be remotely accessed via a wireless network system.

The have been used worldwide, including in the United Kingdom and Australia.

Innovative Hyperfarm tests on-farm scenarios

Hyperfarm is a visualisation and strategic scenario testing tool for land owners and decision makers. It is used to identify land uses that satisfy individual and community goals for economic, environmental, social and cultural wellbeing.

It is unique because it encompasses and represents multiple wellbeings. It enables users to:

  • Compare multiple land uses and their effect on multiple wellbeings
  • Visualise what those land uses might look like
  • Understand which land uses best fit with their environment e.g.: location, climate, soil type
  • Understand what changes in land use could mean for farm profitability.

Hyperfarm is not a tactical decision-making tool that competes with or replicated the role of FARMAX, Overseer or other decision support tools, but it may use data from those tools to determine an initial potential.

Watch this video for more.

Adopting new methods for winter grazing

Our Strategic Winter Grazing study has made a real difference to farmers. This technology consists of straight-forward rules that are applied to the grazing methods used for break feeding animals on winter forage crops to reduce environmental impacts.

The benefits of the research includes the reduction of the environmental impact caused by sedimentation of waterways and a strengthened licence to operate.

Senior Scientist Ross Monaghan

Farm efficiency benefits also occur through reducing the loss of soil and soil fertility that often occurs during winter forage crop grazing.

AgResearch acknowledges the assistance given to the project from other colleagues and collaborators who contributed to the wider Pastoral 21-funded programme of work undertaken in South Otago. These include colleagues from Farm Systems (Bryan Thompson, David Stevens, Andrew Wall), Environmental Science (Wayne Worth), DairyNZ (Dawn Dalley) and the Telford Farm team who kindly hosted the experimentation.

Watch this video for more.

  • Additional capabilities

    • Agricultural Systems Modelling
    • Land Use Function and Evaluation
    • Data Science
    • Farm Systems Research
    • Statistics
    • Mathematical Modeling
    • Social Science
    • Precision Technology

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