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Professor Steve Morris CREDIT: Massey University
Professor Danny Donaghy CREDIT: Massey University
Leading sheep and beef researcher Professor Steve Morris and Dairy Production Systems Professor Danny Donaghy will take up new scientist in residence roles at Massey University Farms in Manawatu.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor Robert Anderson says Steve Morris, Professor of Animal Science and Danny Donaghy, who has the DairyNZ funded chair, will lead new research strategy and community engagement programmes at two University farms.
Professor Morris will take the new role for the sheep and beef farm Tuapaka, a 476-hectare property northeast of the University campus that features flat ground and hill country in the Tararua Ranges. Professor Donaghy’s appointment is for the No 4 Dairy Farm, a 211-hectare property where about 580 Friesian and Friesian/Jersey cross cows are milked just south of the campus.
Professor Anderson says the scientists in residence will ensure research programmes at the respective farms are relevant to the lower North Island, are internationally reputable and reflective of the over-arching need for profitable and sustainable farming systems in New Zealand.
“Professor Morris is a leading agricultural researcher having worked in sheep and beef cattle production for more than 20 years,” Professor Anderson says. “He is highly regarded internationally, and was recently invited as a keynote speaker at the Efficient Suckler Beef Cow conference in Ireland. Professor Morris also leads a research programme in out-of-season sheep breeding in Xinjiang Provence, China and is working with China’s Ministry of Science and Technology and the Peking and Shihezi universities.”
Professor Donaghy joined Massey earlier this year and is working closely with the dairy industry to help achieve its goals of improved profitability, sustainability and competitiveness, Professor Anderson says. “His engagement with New Zealand dairy farmers, his background leading the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture Dairy Centre in Australia and his international connections equip him well for the scientist in residence role.”
Professor Morris says he is keen to engage with industry groups to ensure Massey’s research meets their needs. This will build on the history of Tuapaka farm where the Perendale sheep was developed by Professor Peren and where the successful Friesian Bull Beef enterprise was based in the 1980s and 1990s. “Research programmes at Tuapaka now include breeding deficiency in cows on the hill country and the environmental impact of different wintering systems for beef cattle,” Professor Morris says.
Professor Donaghy is excited by the opportunities of the new role. “I’ve been visiting dairy farms in the Manawatu and throughout New Zealand talking with farmers and consultants to find out what’s going on and what Massey can do for them. I’m always keen to hear what the issues are, and what people think can be done about them,” Professor Donaghy says. “I’m also talking to staff at Massey who have an interest in dairy research, including people in soil, plant and animal sciences through to those in engineering, business and social sciences. A number of people already play a big role in undertaking relevant research for the dairy industry, but Massey has considerable additional capability all agricultural industries could benefit significantly from.”
The new appointments are part of the University strategy to increase engagement between academics and those with interest in its farms including industry, farmers and local communities.