Our Wellington and Manawatū campuses are open, Auckland remains closed at AL3. More information.
Beef cattle behaviour and welfare
Our research expertise is in validating assessment of welfare on pasture-based beef cows and calves.
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.
Our research has looked at alternative herbages for growing young cattle, and wintering systems for cows and growing young cattle.
Reproduction and breeding
Our scientists have expertise in improving systems to breed beef cow heifers efficiently and safely. This includes calving intervals and examining means of reducing postpartum anoestrous.
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.
Find programmes with a research element, including the PhD.
- Bachelor of Science with Honours (Animal Science)
- Master of Science (Animal Science)
- Master of Veterinary Medicine
- Master of Veterinary Science
- Master of Veterinary Studies
- Master of Veterinary Studies (Epidemiology)
- Master of Veterinary Studies (Veterinary Public Health)
Search for an expert
Search our staff database for an expert or area of expertise.
Cow GPS aids sustainable grazing research
This research monitored cows over three consecutive winters at Massey University’s Tuapaka farm to get baseline measures of how the beef cows used the 8 to 12 ha paddocks.
The research found that, even in extensive hill country paddocks, cows avoided walking uphill. Instead the cows followed the contours of the hills and concentrated their grazing on the flatter areas. The movement of the cows was largely unaffected by cold, wet weather.
Identifying cattle breed variation using tongue colour
This research built on previous projects to identify whether tongue colour could be a useful predictor of breed in Angus-cross-dairy and dairy-breed calves. While a Jersey calf is easy to identify, both the Angus-cross and Holstein-Friesian-Jersey calves may have a completely black coat, making it difficult to identify the breed of new-born calves.
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.
Welfare management standards for slaughter plants
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) approached the Centre to assess the suitability of its welfare management standards for the age, nutrition and health of these calves.
We worked with a major slaughter plant to investigate how calves coped with early weaning, transport and fasting. Most could cope with transport for 12 hours and fasting for 30 hours without distress.
In another study, the majority of 7000 calves that arrived at a slaughter plant in Whanganui coped well with transport and lairage (animal handling facilities), provided these met MAF and industry standards. This work was repeated with similar results in Australia.
Our studies show that industry standards are sufficient to guarantee the welfare of calves destined for slaughter.
Working with industry and research partners, Massey Farms run research and trials in areas of significance to science, the industry and consumer. There are eight farms as part of the group, including conventional and organic dairy units, sheep, beef and deer breeding units and a mixed enterprise/grazing/cropping unit over 2000 hectares.
Livestock production in New Zealand
The complete guide to the management of dairy cattle, beef cattle, sheep, deer, goats, pigs, poultry, horses and working dogs in New Zealand. Written mainly by experts from Massey University’s School of Veterinary Science, it is of value and interest to everyone from students to farmers, right across New Zealand’s agribusiness sector. Edited by Kevin Stafford.
A printed 'yardstick', this tool was created to show the relationship between seasonality, the height and yield of herb pasture mixes in the field and whether stock should then be grazing, or not. The stick aims to assist farmers' understanding of the management of 'new' forage pasture types.
AL Rae Centre for Genetics and Breeding
The Centre ensures sustained development and application of knowledge in quantitative genetics and breeding to enhance the profitability of New Zealand's primary industries.
Animal Welfare Science and Bioethics Centre
The Centre focuses on animal welfare in a diverse range of human-animal interactions. This includes the use of animals in research, teaching and testing, on farms, in the home, for sport, recreation and entertainment, in service roles, in zoos and the wild, and in other arenas.
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.
The Hopkirk Institute is a joint institute – scientists are from both AgResearch and Massey University. It has the southern hemisphere's largest concentration of health sciences for pastoral-fed animals.
Scientists collaborate on researching solutions for the sustainable control of parasitic diseases, primarily in sheep and cattle including:
- evaluating more effective vaccines to combat infectious disease, including tuberculosis, Johne's disease, mastitis and pneumonia
- identifying and predicting food poisoning threats in New Zealand and devising strategies to minimise their prevalence and impact.
Massey works closely with industry across our areas of expertise, partnering on funding research and equipment to produce knowledge that is relevant and useful to industry and to progress scientific work. Key partners in our beef research are: