We are leaders in food safety and integrity of animal production and processing systems.

Our Science

Animal welfare for market success

We ensure our agricultural systems support societal, customer and consumer interests and expectations.

We research the moods and personalities of farm animals to look at how they respond in new and different situations. This helps us expand our knowledge of livestock behaviour at a time of growing consumer demand for strong welfare standards.

Studying mood and personality

Because we cannot directly measure how individual animals are feeling, we use indirect measures. They help us to better understand how personality also contributes to an animal’s welfare.

It is important that we can distinguish between different personalities in a range of situations, where animals are feeling either positive or negative. To learn more, watch the video below and/or read our Animal Welfare and Behaviours case study.

Cleaner, happier, and less leaky livestock systems

Could hay added to the pasture create a "Soil Armour" that helps reduce nitrogen leaching, and means less mud, for cattle grazing in winter?

In the video below, our senior scientist Ross Monaghan talks about promising signs so far from the Soil Armour project, which is supported by the Ministry for Primary Industries.

On-farm food safety systems

Tracing from the farm through to the food processing unit

Agricultural exports underpin the New Zealand economy. The future success of the sector depends on our ability to produce high-quality food with exceptionally high food safety standards, and to meet consumers’ increasing requirements around ethical and sustainable food production systems.

However, the sector faces challenges that only science can solve. For example, food-borne bacterial pathogens have become a growing food safety and public health concern worldwide. Spore-forming bacteria in the dairy and meat industries have become more resistant to heat and various disinfectants, which increases wastage and reduces product shelf life. A further challenge is counterfeit products, which put at risk our market reputation, and product and brand integrity.


Soil health project to test different practices on dairy farms

New research on farms across New Zealand will measure and provide farmers tools to enhance soil health, including identifying where regenerative agriculture practices can make a difference.

In a unique partnership between food producers Synlait Milk and Danone, AgResearch, and the Ministry for Primary Industries’ (MPI) Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund, the project will study soil health on 10 farms in Waikato, Canterbury and Otago over five years, to determine the impacts of changes in soil health on production, farm resilience and the environment, including climate change.

  • Additional capabilities

    • Animal genetics
    • Animal biotechnology
    • High throughput methane screening for sheep and cattle
    • Animal genomics
    • Animal welfare
    • Pest biology

Animal Ethics ~ Te Ara ~

AgResearch is conscious of its responsibilities and the need for openness and accountability around our research involving animals. ​ We also offer a service to help make sure research on animals is only undertaken when there are no practical alternatives and if so we reduce the numbers of animals used and impact on them as much as possible.

Animal Ethics

Related Work

Our Research

Latest News


Get in touch with our team

Contact us

Send an email to one of our team or check out our facilities located across Aotearoa New Zealand.

Send another enquiry

Something went wrong and the form could not be submitted. Please try again later.