Dairy research

The dairy group consists of animal and dairy production scientists, veterinarians and technicians. We provide expertise across a broad range of dairy system and dairy animal research projects, and operate a commercial Farm Services Clinic.

Our expertise

Dairy animal production systems

Lactation physiology and cow feeding/nutrition including the impact of feeding on cow performance. Forage and grazing management including forage production, nutritive value and persistence, cow performance and genetics.

Commercial research

Dairy-related project management with a range of commercial companies to evaluate and test new and novel animal pharmaceuticals.

Veterinary research

Veterinary surveillance including epidemiology and understanding risk factors for endemic diseases. Includes

  • Etiology 
  • Pathogenesis of lameness in pasture-based and housed cows
  • Management and diagnosis of abortion
  • Mastitis control and management
  • Management of the cow's oestrus cycle to improve fertility.

Veterinary practise

We operate a 24-hour, full-year Farm Services Clinic providing services from individual animal care to whole-herd health programmes. We have staff trained in InCalf, Smart SAMM and mastitis detection and treatment, and with expertise in lameness and calf medicine.

For more information about our research activity, click on individual researchers' names below.


More on dairy research

Project Dairy 1 encompasses Massey University's body of research work on the once-a-day seasonal supply low-input system in a sensitive nutrient zone.

Project Dairy 1>

Key Contact

CASE STUDY: Detecting lameness in cows

Lameness is a significant and persistent welfare and economic problem on dairy farms worldwide, including New Zealand. The pain and suffering it causes is a serious welfare concern.  It also has a negative impact on milk production and fertility. This combined impact on welfare and productivity is a major driver for improving lameness.

One of the principal barriers to tackling lameness is perception of the problem.  Our study identified the difference between farmer perception of lameness and that identified by mobility scoring under New Zealand conditions in cows kept at pasture. Improved detection, so that farmer estimates better match lameness prevalence, could play a significant role in persuading farmers of the importance of lameness on farm.

Better diagnosis of lameness is also likely to result in earlier treatment, which could significantly reduce its prevalence and improve response to treatment.

This study shows that there is significant room for improvement in the detection of lameness on New Zealand farms, and suggests that routine mobility scoring, particularly at critical periods, could be a valuable tool for identifying lame cows.

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