Japanese students get a taste of New Zealand during Lincoln visit  


The visiting students listen to Landcare Research’s Scott Graham. 

Lincoln alumnus Yoshi Uchida, an assistant professor in the Faculty of Agriculture at Japan’s Hokkaido University, is back for his third trip with his students to give them a taste of Kiwi life that he had enjoyed himself.

He is spending two weeks on campus with eight students and hopes it will encourage them to try overseas study themselves when they get to postgraduate level.

All the visiting students are Agriculture undergraduates, and Yoshi wanted to show them the different types of research and practice in New Zealand.

This included visits to Landcare Research and Lincoln’s own research farm, Ashley Dene.

They also stay in Kiwi homes, so they would have to communicate in English and experience the culture.

The trip is part of a learning satellite programme from Hokkaido University and the students would practice their English in a real-life setting.

Yoshi started his Bachelor of Agricultural Science at Lincoln in 2002, with an Honours in Soil Science, and finished his PhD in 2010.

When he began teaching he realised that many Japanese students were eager to study in English, but they needed a lot of assistance to make their dream come true. Based on his experience, he thought Lincoln University could provide a perfect opportunity for them.

He wants the students to compare New Zealand life with life in Japan, in a variety of areas outside of education- comedy, public holidays and origin myths.

He wanted to integrate them with their Kiwi counterparts and had enlisted the help of some Lincoln students, for which he would offer some credits from his own University.

He said some of his students have never been out of Japan.

Yoshi said he had noticed a change in his students in previous trips, even after such a short visit.

Source: Lincoln University


Massey Agriculture climbs to 22nd position in world university rankings

Vice-chancellor Jan Thomas has cause to smile.

Massey University’s ranking has climbed five positions to be 22nd in the world in the agriculture and forestry subject area in this year’s edition of the QS World University Rankings.

Wageningen University in the Netherlands ranked first for agriculture and forestry, followed by the University of California (Davis) Cornell University, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences  and the University of California (Berkeley).

Lincoln University slipped from 39th to 44th place.

But to put this in perspective, 330 universities were given rankings for agriculture and forestry.

Overall, this year’s rankings table features 980 institutions, 959 of which qualify for an overall rank. Forty-six institutions feature for the first time in the 2018 edition.

To arrive at this final table, 4,388 institutions were considered.

Massey confirmed its veterinary science world standing at 23rd place and two other Massey subject areas, arts and design and development studies, were ranked in the top 100.

A delighted Vice-Chancellor, Professor Jan Thomas, said Massey’s world-class reputation has been reinforced by these rankings.

“To be ranked in the top 100 universities in the world for any subject is a significant achievement; to have four subject areas ranked is outstanding,” Professor Thomas says.

“This confirms our pursuit of excellence in teaching excellence and world-class research outputs.”

Agriculture, biology, veterinary science and environmental sciences are among a total of 21 Massey subjects ranked.

Stuff reported that all eight New Zealand universities were ranked in the 2018 QS World University Rankings by subject, placing in the top 50 institutions for 32 subjects – compared with 28 in 2017.

QS World University Rankings, an annual publication of university rankings by Quacquarelli Symonds, is considered an official measure of university ranking.

New Zealand’s most-ranked universities were the University of Auckland and the University of Otago.

The rankings are based on academic reputation, research citations and impact, and employer reputation, gathering responses from more than 170,000 academics and 158,000 employers.



Wine and culture on the menu for Chinese university’s visit to Lincoln

wine visit
Lincoln University staff with the visitors from Northwest A&F University.

Nineteen students and two academic staff from the Horticulture and the Viticulture & Oenology programme of China’s Northwest A&F University were visiting Lincoln recently to learn about vino and vowels.

Their four-week trip had the principle aim for the students to learn English and experience New Zealand culture, and to understand and learn about wine production here.

They participated in a range of activities which included a field trip to visit vineyards and wineries in Waipara.

One of the visit organisers, Dr Bin Tian from Lincoln’s Department of Wine, Food and Molecular Biosciences, said the visiting students and staff were impressed by the University’s interactive teaching and appreciated the efforts that staff put into the short course programme.

“Some of students have also expressed their great interest in applying for Master’s study at Lincoln University in the future.”

The visit and programme of activities is expected to initiate more collaborations in teaching and research between the two universities.

Source: Lincoln  University

Our precious soil – are we treating it like dirt?


Registrations are being accepted here for  a discussion on soil and soil policy at Lincoln University involving broadcaster Kim Hill and a group of expert panellists.

The question at issue: are we letting our most precious resource slip through our fingers?

The panellists who will draw on their extensive expertise to discuss this question are:

• Trish Fraser: Plant & Food Research

• Ants Roberts: Ravensdown

• Mike Hedley: Massey University

• Andy MacFarlane: Farmer/Company Director

Event Details

Date: Thursday 22 March

Time: 7.30pm, doors open 6.30pm

Venue: Stewart Building, Lincoln University (no. 62 or C3 on the campus map)

Cost: $5 koha. Refreshments and nibbles provided. (Alcoholic beverages will be provided from a cash bar.)

Biographies of the panellists can be found here.

Ground is broken on new ag-science development at Lincoln

The start of a joint $200 million development between Lincoln University and AgResearch demonstrates a strong commitment to agricultural research and teaching in Canterbury, Tertiary Education Minister Paul Goldsmith says.

A ground-breaking ceremony was held today for the five-building facility at Lincoln to house around 700 staff from Lincoln University, AgResearch and Dairy NZ.

“Students want to study in the best facilities and learn from the best. The environment around them makes a big difference both to their experience of studying, and to choosing to go there in the first place,” Mr Goldsmith says.

“This investment from the Government, Lincoln University and AgResearch allows both institutions to deliver that quality experience for not only students, but teachers, and researchers as well.

“With the closer linking of research and teaching and scientific disciplines, students can be immersed in the very best agricultural science.”

The new facility is a significant physical and financial undertaking, with a total floor area of 27,000 square metres, or nearly three hectares.

Both Lincoln University and AgResearch’s facilities were damaged in the Canterbury earthquakes and the Government was keen to see a new joint facility between the two to increase research collaboration.

“This is a stake in the ground for the future of agricultural research in New Zealand and will mean new ways of working and learning for everyone involved,” Mr Goldsmith says.

“Removing the barriers between university and industry researchers and introducing the best new facilities will be key for attracting the best staff and students for years to come.”

The Government is contributing $85 million to Lincoln University for the project, with the rest coming from AgResearch and Lincoln.

The new buildings will be a key part of the Lincoln Hub – a specialist land-based innovation cluster in partnership with Lincoln University, AgResearch, Plant and Food Research, Landcare Research and DairyNZ

Public lecture on pathogen that chews into potato crop yields

Professor Richard Falloon, who has spent more than 20 years researching the pathogen (Spongospora subterranea) which causes powdery scab of potato, will be delivering a lecture at Lincoln University on October 6.

Richard is Professor of Plant Pathology at the Bio-Protection Research Centre, Lincoln University and a Principal Scientist at the New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food

He will describe the interactions of the pathogen with potato plants and the harmful effects it has for plant productivity and crop yields.

He will outline details of the biology of the pathogen and describe its place in the community of soil-borne organisms that infect potato plants.

Details: 6pm-7.30pm (doors open at 5.30pm), Thursday 6 October 2016, Stewart Building, Lincoln University. Light refreshments will be available before and after the event. Parking available at Orchard carpark off Springs Road.

Organiser: Lincoln University, Canterbury. This is part of the Change Makers series of free public lectures.

Soil researcher surprised by findings from dairy farm field work on urine patches

Unexpected and conflicting results from research around irrigation practices and their influence on greenhouse gas emissions have Lincoln University PhD student Jen Owens contemplating a more complex scenario and a few possible explanations.

Ms Owens carried out a field experiment on a commercial dairy farm measuring nitrous oxide emissions and soil oxygen concentrations under urine patches subjected to varying rates of irrigation. Her studies are integrated with a three-year research programme by Landcare Research into greenhouse gas emissions from intensive dairying.

Nitrous oxide is a potent greenhouse gas linked to climate change. Most of New Zealand’s nitrous oxide emissions come from grazed pastures where soil is affected by nitrogen inputs such as ruminant urine. Nitrous oxide emissions from urine patches are a problem for New Zealand given the intensification of dairying.

“While many dairy farms are using irrigation to improve pasture production to meet the nutritional needs of their cows, little is known about what happens to the nitrous oxide emissions from urine patches when they are irrigated,” says Ms Owens.

Her field experiment explored the possibility that irrigation may modify soil oxygen concentrations, potentially reducing nitrous oxide emissions from urine patches. She found that soil oxygen concentrations under a more frequently irrigated urine patch were lower when compared to a less frequent irrigation regime.

These lower soil oxygen concentrations were expected to lead to lower nitrous oxide emissions. However, this didn’t happen, suggesting a more complex scenario.

“Nitrous oxide emissions were not affected by irrigation frequency but we were surprised to find the more frequent irrigation rate lead to potentially greater nitrous oxide uptake by microbes. These two results appear to conflict with each other.”

A possible explanation for this is that the potential for the production of nitrous oxide has increased in response to lower soil oxygen, as well as the potential for soil microbes to consume nitrous oxide. So in effect we are measuring the net effect of these two processes.”

Based on the results from the study, Ms Owens has performed a number of smaller experiments under controlled conditions to better understand how soil biology is driven by the soil’s physical status.

She said:

“These experiments have helped us interpret how irrigation influences nitrous oxide emissions from urine patches.

“We’ve also started looking at urine patch induced nitrous oxide emissions on other soil types and during different times of the year, winter instead of summer, to validate and further explore the impact of soil oxygen concentrations.”

Ms Owens’ research is being funded by Landcare Research.