Dairy Farm 1 , Pāmu Miraka Kau 1

Located near the Manawatū campus in Palmerston North, Dairy 1 is a working farm that aims to provide smart, sustainable dairying solutions through university research projects.

Visit a farm, ask a question, or request teaching and research services.


Dairy 1 is one of Massey's working farms. It borders the Manawatū River, within the Palmerston North city boundary.


  • To be managed as a profitable, low input, sustainable pasture-based dairy farm.
  • To provide a teaching resource for undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications and be involved in research and extension of Once-a-Day seasonal supply low input system in a sensitive nutrient zone.
  • To provide a link between the university and agribusiness.

Farm features

About the farm

Dairy 1 is in an area originally part of the Batchelar farm, purchased by the government for the site of the Massey Agricultural College which later became Massey University.

The farm has changed over the years with the better Karapoti Brown Loam soils annexed by other organisations. Dairy 1 now uses the lighter river accretion soils next to to the Manawatū River.

  • A dairy herd was established in 1929 and is the basis of the present Dairy 1.
  • The farm has produced winter milk for over 40 years.
  • In February 2004, almost 90 per cent of the farm was inundated by floodwaters leaving significant silt deposits after recession.

Location and map

Dairy 1 is located adjacent to the Massey University campus, bounding the Manawatū River. Three kilometres from Palmerston North City.

The farm's 142 hectares is subdivided into approximately 65 x 1.9 hectare paddocks, all with race access.

Find us on Google maps


142.7 hectares.

Effective Area: 119.7 hectares.


35 metres above sea level.


980mm (average annual rainfall).

1010mm rainfall for 2004/2005 season.


An average of 7°C in July and 18.5°C in January (monthly 10cm soil temperature).


Free-draining alluvial soils. A complex association of river soils, including the following.

  • Rangitikei Loamy Sand.
  • Manawatū Fine Sandy Loam.
  • Manawatū Sand Loam/Gravelly phase.
  • Manawatū Mottled Silt Loam.
  • Karapoti Brown Sandy Loam.

These soil types are well to excessively-well drained, prone to summer drought. High in natural fertility. Overlaying gravels are present, in some cases within 10cm of surface.


32 hectares of the farm is able to be irrigated.


Free draining.

Water supply

Massey University water supply, reticulated to all paddocks.


One permanent staff and casual staff as required.

Genetics and breeding

The long term plan for breed composition at Dairy 1 is to have a herd of 240 cows composed of:

  • 80 jerseys
  • 80 friesians
  • 80 crossbreds.

As of the 2013/14 dairy season, the jerseys are mated to jersey sires, friesians to friesian sire and the crossbred animals are mated to crossbred sires. Bulls are selected on the OAD selection index developed by LIC.

A new culling decision index is now being developed for OAD milking using the data obtained from the cows at Dairy 1.

The following are all being evaluated for the breeds:

  • production – milkfat, protein and lactose yields per cow
  • productivity – milksolids/hectare
  • efficiency – milksolids/kilogram of liveweight, milksolids/tonne of dry matter.


The milking facility is a 24-aside herringbone shed equipped with Westfalia metatron. The feed pad is concrete with a 200 cow capacity.

Other facilities include a:

  • five-bay calf shed
  • office
  • storage room
  • teaching room.


Pastures are predominantly perennial ryegrass or white clover species. Pastures are renewed on a 10-year rotation.

Historically, Dairy 1 has grown 13.9t DM/ha/year, on average.

Grazing policies

Pasture-based production system aiming to achieve high levels of feed conversion efficiency through excellent grazing management.

The following stock are typically grazed off the farm:

  • heifer calves
  • yearling heifers
  • cows grazed off (varies between 140-200 spring cows for 6 weeks in June/July).

Supplements are used to extend lactation and buffer the effects of seasonal pasture growth.

Regrassing policy

Currently, 12-15 ha are re-grassed annually into perennial ryegrass/clover (that is, grass-to-grass).


Fertiliser programmes generally are different every year. In the past we have put on several strategic applications of nitrogen throughout the year (at application rates of 30-40 kg N/ha). Fertiliser is currently selected based on soil tests, plant demand and climate data.

Soil tests are done biannually and show the following results:

This table shows soil tests results 2002-2020
Year pH Olsen P SO4 K Mg
2002 5.8 44.1 5.6 5.0 27.0
2004 6.0 27.3 17.7 5.0 28.0
2010 5.7 38.7 9.7 5.0 27.0
2012 6.0 39.0 6.0 8.0 32.0
2016 5.7 30.0 12.0 11.0 35.0
2018 6.0 33.0 11.0 10.0 30.0
2020 5.9 26.0 16.8 7.0 31.0

The intention for the new system is for fertiliser to be looked into in more detail due to the farm location and change to farm system.

Crops and supplements

10 hectares of Lucerne and 10 hectares of chicory, plantain red and white clover mix have been planted.

Maize silage, grass silage and baleage are purchased according to seasonal requirements. Hay is fed to dry stock when needed. Other mineral supplementation bought in as required.

The intention is to grow all supplement on farm.

Stocking rate and production

This table shows stocking rate and production 2016-2021
2016/2017 2017/2018 2018/2019 2019/2020 2020/2021
Total milk solids supplied (kg) 92,299 87,335 77,496 91,004 99,334
Cows milked (peak) 258 251 242 261 262
Stocking rate (cows/ha) 2.2 2.1 2.0 2.2 2.2
Milk production (kg MS/cow) 358 348 320 349 379
Milk production (kg MS/ha) 398 376 346 412 449


Mating takes place mid-October for nine weeks. Artificial breeding only.

This table shows mating information 2016-2021
2016/2017 2017/2018 2018/2019 2019/2020 2020/2021
Repro 6 week 74% 83% 79% 77% 74%
Repro empty 12% 9% 9% 9% 13%
Mating AB (weeks) 10 10 10 10 10
Mating natural (weeks) 0 0 0 0 0
Total weeks mating 10 10 10 10 10

Our people

Dairy 1 is managed by Tristan Bates.

Tristan Bates

Dairy Farm 1 Manager
School of Agriculture and Environment


We have a number of research projects currently underway at Dairy Farm 1.

Future Farms Project

On 1 August 2013, Dairy 1 became a systems trial called Future Farms.

The farm switched to once-a-day (OAD) milking, spring calving system. 240 cows are milked OAD for 300 days. Already the genetics of the herd are being accessed with help from LIC.

This Future Farm Project has emphasis on:

  • people
  • community
  • biodiversity
  • water and energy efficiency
  • low inputs
  • high technology
  • One Plan sensitive river catchment
  • cow longevity
  • reproductive efficiency
  • high solids milk sold
  • animal welfare
  • best practice.

Competitive and responsible dairying

Massey University is working with farmers and industry to find the best solutions for competitive and responsible dairying in a sensitive New Zealand river catchment.

We have research programmes underway particularly to benchmark the initial phase of this project. Several more programmes of research are planned.

Sustainable farming

For this trial the nine main points of sustainable farming are taken as being to:

  • have a profitable farm business
  • manage soils for the future with less dependence on fertilizers, and to build soil organic matter in order to increase soil carbon levels
  • reduce energy consumption by reducing demand and generating on-farm energy supply
  • better manage water (conserve and reduce use), and reduce pollutant losses
  • have sustainable people management practices
  • increase the biodiversity on the farm
  • develop long-term business communication strategies not only with buyers, but with the professional support teams and the local community
  • lower the carbon footprint of milk production
  • improve dairy cow welfare, fertility and animal health.

The gross composition, fatty acid profile and the processability of milk from cows milked once- and twice-a-day

Professor Nicolas Lopez-Villalobos and student, Inthujaa Sanjayaranj

Professor Nicolas Lopez-Villalobos

Professor Nicolas Lopez-Villalobos

Inthujaa Sanjayaranj

Inthujaa Sanjayaranj

The aim of the research is to study the effect of once-a-day (Dairy 1) and twice-a-day (Dairy 4) milking on the gross composition, fatty acid composition and processability of milk with the interaction of breed, parity and stages of lactation.

The research will provide better understanding of fatty acid composition of milk and its influence on butter hardness and coagulation properties. This research will also study the suitability of milk from Holstein-Friesian, Holstein-Friesian Jersey cross-bred and Jersey cows milked OAD for butter and cheese making.

Contact Inthujaa Sanjayaranj

The impact of milking once and twice a day on the physicochemical properties of milk

Marit Van der Zeijden

Marit van der Zeijden

Compositional and physio-chemical properties of milk are important factors in determining final product quality after processing.

The aim of this research is to obtain a better understanding of the variation in gross composition, protein composition and functionality of milk from once and twice-a-day milked cows.

This research is funded through the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE- funded New Zealand Milks Mean More (NZ3M) programme and the Riddet Institute.

Contact Marit Van der Zeijden

Long-term effect of a OAD selection index on productive and reproductive performance of dairy cows milked once-a-day

Contact Nicolas Lopez-Villalobos

Assessment of transport and transformation of nitrogen in the subsurface environment

Contact Nicolas Lopez-Villalobos


The land on the south bank of the Manawatū River where Massey’s Dairy 1 is located was originally occupied by the Rangitāne people. Māori settlers, attracted by the fertile soils of the Manawatū floodplain, cleared some of the forest for growing kumara and established small unfortified villages (kainga) along the river. Although it is likely that there were a number of settlements in this area, only one village, Mokomoko, is recorded.

Prior to European settlement a large stand of karaka trees grew on the area of flat land between the present FitzHerbert Bridge and the mouth of the Turitea Stream and were an important food source for Māori. A remnant of the karaka grove is located adjacent to the Dairy 1 is a culturally significant site, providing a physical and spiritual link with the Māori history of the land.

In 1926 the farm of John Batchelar was purchased by the government for the site of the Massey Agricultural College which later became Massey University.

Original survey map by J.T. Stewart.

Visit a farm or request research and teaching services

Contact Massey Agricultural and Horticultural Enterprises (MAHE) with questions or to visit a farm. You can also request teaching or research.

More information

For further information please email us at: agstation@massey.ac.nz