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Current research activity is dominated by a project based at Massey University providing research services for Manuka Research Partnership Ltd., in a joint venture with Comvita NZ Ltd. Funding comes from the joint venture partners and Ministry for Primary Industries via the Primary Growth Partnership scheme. (http://www.maf.govt.nz/Portals/0/Documents/agriculture/assist-funding/pgp/media-bkgrnd-hpmp.pdf). My research is focused on Objective 2 of this project: Field/plantation trials based around large scale manuka plantations that focus on aspect, slope, planting densities, plantation management and the importance of companion biota for production of manuka honey with high umf (unique manuka factor) content. Includes locations across the lower North Island (Ahu Ahu, Nukuhau, Ruatiti, Tutira and Rangitatau West). Provenances from manuka stands in the North Island known to produce high UMF honey and clones resulting from selected crosses are being assessed for agronomic performance and nectar attributes at these sites. This research is potentially valuable to hill country farmers because it will improve the viability of establishing woody species (manuka) to reduce soil erosion by generating greater income from manuka honey.
Other current research activities include: Assessment of cow pea (Vigna unguiculata) provenances colected from Malawi for drought tolerance; endophytes in forage brassica species and assessment of revegetation projects in Java, Indonesia.
Recent international collaboration includes the College of Pastoral Agriculture Science and Technology , University of Lanzhou, Lanzhou, China.
Crop production: Yield and quality of cereal grain crops; forage crops including cereals, maize for silage and brassica crops; seed production of crop and herbage species.
Farm forestry:Trees in sustainable hill country production systems. Plantation manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) for production of high methylglyoxal (UMF) honey.
Undergraduate:Teaching in the 283 and 119 series papers in the BAgriScience degree. Emphasis on crop agronomy, agricultural systems and trees on farms. As BAgriScience director I provide advice and guidance to students in the programme.
Postgraduate:Supervision and teaching of postgraduate students at masterate and PhD level.
Farm Forestry: Past research included evaluation of eucalypt species in hill country with a focus on assessment of the growth, form and wood density of different species on different hill country microsites. Curent research is focused on assessment of manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) provenances and clones, including genetotype x environment interactions, for production of high unique manuka factor (UMF) honey.
Crop agronmy:Ongoing research activity in crop agronomy has focused on summer forages, maize and sorghum, in particular establishment in maize, modelling growth, development and yield of maize and yield and forage quality of sorghum and sorghum hybrids. Additional research has included water and nutrient use efficiency of modern and Maori potato cultivars and assessment of cow pea provenances from different climatic zones in Malawi for drought tolerance.
Resource Development and Management, Future Food Systems
Field of research codes
Agricultural And Veterinary Sciences (070000): Agroforestry (070501): Agronomy (070302): Crop and Pasture Biomass and Bioproducts (070304): Crop and Pasture Nutrition (070306): Crop and Pasture Production (070300): Forestry Biomass and Bioproducts (070502): Forestry Management and Environment (070504): Forestry Sciences (070500)
Crop agronomy: Cereals, forages, seed crops
Farm forestry: silviculture of farm woodlots and timberbelts.
I teach crop agronomy (forage crops and grain crops), agricultural systems and farm forestry to undergrad students in the BAgrScience and BAgriCommerce programmes at 1st 2nd and 3rd year level.