The LURDF was established in 2009 and is located immediately north-west of the University’s Selwyn campus. The farm currently comprises 55ha, with 20ha of University-owned land adjacent to the LURDF to be added to the farm for the 2013-2014 milking season and beyond.
“This is part of Lincoln University’s planned upgrade of its portfolio of farms. I am hopeful that we can increase our holdings in education, research and demonstration farms. It is a time-honoured way to remain relevant to farmers and students” says Vice-Chancellor, Dr Andrew West.
The University has close ties with the country’s dairy farmers and their representative body, DairyNZ. Grant Edwards, Joint Lincoln University-DairyNZ Professor of Dairy Production, says “the farm has run out of space to expand its research and development. The new land will be used to support a range of research projects related to both productivity and environmental performance of New Zealand’s dairy farms.
“The land will allow capacity and flexibility to grow postgraduate and industry-funded research, including work related to the DairyNZ Forage Value Index, and the Pastoral 21, Phase 2 project Next Generation Dairy Systems for Canterbury”.
Assistant Vice-Chancellor Scholarship and Research, Stefanie Rixecker, has overall responsibility for the University’s extensive portfolio of farms. “The LURDF supports in the order of $2.5m/year in research projects. These projects inform commercial dairy practices as well as provide a rich research environment for a number of the University’s honours, masters and PhD students.
“The farm is also used as part of the undergraduate teaching programme, with around 1,000 student visits each year. The University is funding the development of the farm as part of its capital programme. Revenue streams from research and projected increased farm productivity make this investment decision completely rational.”
Lincoln University’s announcement of the expansion of its LURDF signals its intention to develop the 3,900ha of farmland under its management so as to better support achievement of government’s export growth target. Earlier this month, the University formed a Farms Committee to help oversee this and other developments.