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Massey University's research projects on Tuapaka Farm are focused on research around beef cows and assisting farmers mitigate the impact of intensive farming in hill country farms on the environment.
We are investigating nutrient management on hill country farms with a focus on water quality, creating solutions for improving that management.
With its strong capability in soil science, hydrology, precision agriculture, geographical information systems and agricultural management, Massey University is a leader in this area of research. Tuapaka Farm and its hill country topography, steep slopes and fragile soils, is ideal for this work.
Four groups representing large or small beef cows and high or low milk production potential are being evaluated over their lifetime for various efficiency indicators. The first three progeny have been finished and assessed.
Beef cows were monitored over two consecutive winters to get baseline measures for paddock use. Of the three kilometres the cows walked daily, less than 300 metres was uphill. Despite this, maintenance requirements increased to meet their energy needs.
We have recently developed a body condition scoring guide for beef cattle, in collaboration with AgFirst Consultancy and Landcorp Farming Ltd. This guide will assist farmers in scoring their breeding cows and making management decisions accordingly.
This project evaluated alternative systems for winter management of growing rising-one-year-old beef cattle on wet soils. Growth rate and welfare of the cattle was compared alongside the soil damage and pasture growth rates. Funded by Beef + Lamb NZ.
Bull beef systems involve rearing 4-day-old bull calves from the dairy industry (usually Holstein Friesian) for slaughter at 12-30 months of age. Many aspects of bull beef farming have been examined at Tuapaka.
This research has shown that in bovid ruminants copper is lost during clotting. This loss is variable and thus means that in cattle, the concentration of copper in the blood is best measured using plasma rather than serum.
Cull ewes that had udders of interest were identified to allow retrieval of the udders at commercial slaughter. These udders are to be analysed in due course.
This research compared twin rearing ewes and their lambs that were weaned at 7 weeks of age onto herb/clover (dams on grass) with those that remained with their dam on either herb/clover or grass until normal weaning age of 12 weeks.
Page authorised by General Manager, Massey Agricultural Experiment Station
Last updated on Tuesday 16 August 2016