Called the Southern Dairy Hub, the new facility is a key investment for the partnership of Southland dairy farmers in the Trust, which until now, have been under-represented in terms of sector research and development.
The investment recognises the current scale and importance of dairying in the region by creating a geo-specific research environment and therefore a constant working example of dairy science.
It also recognises that dairy farming techniques used in other parts of New Zealand are not easily adapted in Southland, given its unique landscape, climate and soil types.
DairyNZ chair Michael Spaans says the Southern Dairy Hub investment reflects the importance of dairying in the south and expects it to deliver innovative, industry-led agricultural research and education opportunities.
“The Southern Dairy Hub will provide relevant, up-to-date local research for Southland dairy farmers. We are thrilled to see it now moving into the development phase and farmers will see research getting underway next season,” says Michael.
“This is a key project for DairyNZ and Southland dairy farmers will gain a lot of value from it.”
AgResearch board chair Sam Robinson says the organisation is pleased to be able to play a key role in developing the 349 hectare property, which is sited at Makarewa, 15km north of Invercargill. The new facility will be made up of two independently owned adjoining beef and sheep farms.
“The plan is to convert the existing farm operation into a dairy farm this season and then supply the Fonterra Co-operative Group at the start of the 2017/18 season. It will initially milk 640 cows but that will increase to around 800 cows,” Mr Robinson says.
“So as well as being a smart financial investment for AgResearch, this is a chance to really further the science developments in this sector.”
In total the start-up investment equates to $5m each from DairyNZ and AgResearch, and around $1.25m from the Southern Dairy Development Trust. The property will settle on 1 November when the conversion process will start.
Matthew Richards, Chair of the Southern Dairy Development Trust and speaking on behalf of the Southern Farmers co-investing with AgResearch and DairyNZ says dairying in Southland has a long history and plays a significant role in the community.
“This development will help southern farmers further increase farm efficiency, productivity and sustainability – and thus continue to enhance the wider southern region.”
For more information please contact:
Vanessa.Feaver@dairynz.co.nz or 027 836 6295