Animal growth and production research
Massey researchers in animal growth and production work to advance scientific knowledge of animal production, welfare, health and biology. We work with a range of animal science, veterinary, agricultural science and extension expertise across the university. We regularly consult with industry professionals and producers and undertake quality research consistent with the needs of the industry.
Deer production and growth
We are evaluating forage species for growth and production to produce quality venison for market needs. This includes evaluation of the establishment, management, nutritive value and persistence of alternative pasture species, and impacts of forage species on health and well-being.
Research in meat science and technology is focussed upon production and processing factors that influence the textural and flavour properties of meat, refrigeration and packaging systems and on the identification and extraction of bioactive components from meat. Research is also carried out on further processed meat products and pet foods.
These research programmes cover the beef, pork and sheep meat sectors.
Modelling nutrient flow and growth
We are investigating growth and product quality in animals by developing growth models. All available information about nutrition, metabolism and genetics is synthesised, transformed into mathematical algorithms, and integrated into a simulation computer program.
Production health and management
We are investigating growth and product quality in animals by developing growth models for poultry. All available information about nutrition, metabolism and genetics is synthesised, transformed into mathematical algorithms, and integrated into a simulation computer program.
We have expertise in ruminant physiology, and the effect of various factors, including nutrition, genetics, and breeding on physiology. Our scientists have particular interest in the physiological function of internal organs and metabolic processes and their impact on growth and development, reproduction and meat quality.
Sheep growth and production
Improving live weight gains in lambs to achieve maximum carcass weight while ensuring carcass and meat traits and meat-eating quality are not compromised. We have researched lamb live-weight gains, carcass and meat quality on different forages. We have a fully equipped meat laboratory and consumer taste panels.
Find programmes with a research element, including the PhD.
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All-year lamb production
Lamb production in New Zealand is seasonal, with most ewes lambing from August to October. But ewes have the potential to lamb out of the traditional season, potentially three times within two years. More frequent lamb production has the potential to increase farmer returns. Our studies identify management techniques to maximise ewe-breeding performance outside the normal period. Management guidelines have been developed for farmers.
Early lamb weaning studies
New research from Massey University suggests that lambs can be successfully weaned lighter and earlier, with benefits for the mother as well. The research shown lambs of ewes feeding on a legume-based diet can be successfully weaned at approximately 50 days old, or seven weeks, when they are as light as 16kg. Under the correct conditions, the early weaning allows the lambs to grow faster and the ewes to regain more body condition before the next breeding season.
Growing healthy heifers
This ongoing research is investigating the most efficient and effective way of raising dairy heifers to meet live weight targets. The aim of this research is to determine the effect of high and low milk treatment and a post- weaning diet of ryegrass or herb pastures on the growth rate of dairy heifers. The study is also collecting data on colostrum quality and parasites in calves.
Longevity and wastage in New Zealand commercial ewe flocks
Approximately 8% of our 20 million commercial ewes are lost every year to on-farm mortality. A study is underway to establish the extent and timing of ewe wastage in commercial New Zealand ewe flocks. It is also looking to identify phenotypic factors associated with reduced productive longevity and increased ewe wastage.
Potential new beef product could spark new industry
Massey University is investigating whether the dairy industry has the potential to drive a new class of beef product by rearing bobby calves who would ordinarily be sent to slaughter. The dairy industry currently needs to produce calves to maintain milk production, but while a proportion of the females are retained as herd replacements, a large number are sent for slaughter due to a lack of viable alternatives.
The potential new product is being labelled New Generation Beef, and is produced by rearing calves sourced from the dairy industry up to one year of age.
Farm Services Clinic
Massey University’s Farm Services Clinic provides on-farm treatment for all farm animals as well as in-clinic consultations as required. We have a large animal hospital in Palmerston North providing ongoing care as well as advanced diagnostic imaging, intensive care and surgery for our patients.
Research centres and groups
Beef Research Centre
Our aim is to undertake quality research consistent with the needs of the New Zealand Beef Industry and to advance scientific knowledge of beef production, welfare, health and biology.
Dairy Research Centre
This Centre consists of scientists, technicians and veterinarians with expertise across a broad range of dairy system and dairy animal research projects. We operate a commercial Farm Services Clinic. We also work with some other milk-producing animals including sheep and goats.
International Sheep Research Centre
The focus of the Centre is to advance the scientific knowledge of sheep production, husbandry, welfare, health, nutrition, reproduction and biology of sheep.
Monogastric Research Centre
The Centre is an Australasian Centre of Excellence on monogastric species. Research focuses on feed evaluation, nutrition, husbandry and welfare. It provides a focal point for the New Zealand monogastric industries and has extensive international linkages.