Regenerative Agriculture


2 min read

What we aim for The research farm What's next How this will help farmers This project is in collaboration with

Te Whenua Hou Te Whenua Whitiora - the new land the new horizon is a Ngāi Tahu-led regenerative agriculture project that aims to develop a future-proof dairy farm system that incorporates mātauranga Māori (indigenous knowledge).

What we aim for

The goal of the project is to develop a system which has positive impacts on soil, staff, animals, and the environment (in comparison with a conventional system) including:

  • halving the nitrate load and concentration from the root zone,
  • reducing irrigation use by 20%,
  • reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20%,
  • improving animal health and wellbeing,
  • improving staff health and wellbeing,
  • retaining productivity levels, and
  • setting the foundation for regenerative dairy farming systems that produce high-value milk products. The project will apply principles and practices from mātauranga Māori and regenerative agriculture on a commercial dairy farm.

The research farm

Regenerative agriculture farm

The research farm is 286 ha, milking 915 cows. Its performance will be compared with the adjacent 325 ha conventional farm, milking 1040 cows. The farms are on a stony soil in Canterbury, north of the Waimakariri river.

What's next

The regenerative and conventional farms currently undertake baseline measurements and prepare the infrastructure. Monitoring will start in the 2023/24 season and will run for seven years.

How this will help farmers

This project aims to utilise mātauranga Māori and regenerative principles to demonstrate positive system changes which farmers can assess and potentially incorporate into their own systems.

This project is in collaboration with

The project is led by Ngāi Tahu Farming in partnership with Ngāi Tūāhuriri. It is co-funded by Ngāi Tahu Farming and MPI’s Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures Fund. DairyNZ is collaborating with Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research, AgResearch, Soil Connection, and the AgriBusiness Group to deliver the research.

Dr. Ina Pinxterhuis, Principal Scientist

Ina Pinxterhuis gained a PhD from Wageningen University (The Netherlands) from research she conducted at AgResearch Grasslands. She joined DairyNZ’s research team nearly twelve years ago.

Last updated: Aug 2023
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