On June 7 and June 8, the Agriculture and Environment students traveled to their last stops of the expedition. We stopped at two Massey University research farms in the North Island. Our focus was learning about pastoral farming, the research studies, and managing for the environment.
Our first stop was in the Wairarapa region at Riverside Farm. Riverside Farm was 690 hectares with 100 paddocks and about 350 cattle and 4,200 sheep.
Research on the farm is primarily focused on working with the drier conditions of the area as well as using alternative herbages for sheep and their lambs. The farm also had waterways fenced off and used erosion controls around waterways to prevent nutrient and sediment loss.
We also walked around the farm while the farmers used the trained dogs to round up the cattle and sheep for us to see. It was awesome to see how the dogs and farmers worked together!
Our next stop was at Dairy No. 1 research farm in Palmerston North next to the Manawatu River. They had 143 acres with 274 cows. We learned about the research and trials for once-a-day milking. One women was milking the cows once a day, which reduced labor costs on the farm. The farm was also considering low-input, pasture-based management decisions for dairy farms.
Dairy farms are a hot topic in New Zealand due the nutrient leaching from the farms. At Dairy No 1, they were attempting strategies to reduce nutrient loss due to their sensitive placement in the city and next to the river.
The end of the stop was filled with smiles because we could be out with cows and pet them!
As these were our last stops for our expedition, we then headed to Napier to begin our internships. There will be more to come about the internships later this week! But for now, enjoy more pictures from the research farms below (click on them to view larger versions).