Posts Tagged ‘Massey University’

Massey team is working on dairy beef product which could spark new industry


Dr Nicola Schreurs is leading the team which is working on a new class of beef.

Massey University is investigating whether the dairy industry has the potential to drive a new class of beef product by rearing bobby calves which would ordinarily be sent to slaughter.

A news announcement on the university’s website says the dairy industry needs to produce enough calves to maintain milk production, but while a proportion of the females are retained as herd replacements, a large number are sent for slaughter at around four-days because of the 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.

The project lead is Dr Nicola Schreurs, at the School of Agriculture and Environment, who says the research has the potential to spawn a brand-new beef industry which one day could phase out the slaughter of bobby calves.

“This new product isn’t veal or bull-beef, and we are not specifically targeting the prime steer classification but, we are developing a new, full red-meat product of its own, that could require less resource and deliver a more sustainable product”, she says.

“There is currently little incentive for the dairy farmer to rear additional calves, but there is a large amount of welfare concerns associated with the transport and slaughter of bobby calves.

“We think that our New Generation Beef system could help the New Zealand dairy industry achieve a ‘zero-bobbies policy’ by turning a low-value product into a high-value product. However, the concept needs validation if it is to have uptake and our research seeks to hammer out how it could work on the farm and will define what type of carcass and meat product we would be getting, as well as considering the potential markets.”

The initial part of the project involves a group of calves (Kiwi crossed with Hereford) managed on Massey’s farms. These calves will be slaughtered at eight, 10, 12 and 18 months of age and assessed for the meat product obtained. This will enable the team to consider the economics required to make the system viable and the required market development for the product.

The research will involve Masters students Sam Pike and Josh Hunt.

The programme will also enrol PhD students over the next two years, to assess the environmental impact of the supply chain and specificities for processing.

“Many of the environment issues with beef production arise as a consequence of a production period of two to three years to achieve market requirements”, Dr Schreurs says.

“Older animals have reduced feed-use efficiency, increased greenhouse gas emissions and a larger contribution to nitrogen leaching.
“Argentinian beef cattle are slaughtered at approximately one year of age and we think a similar system could be implemented in New Zealand with positive consequences for the environment.”

The project will use the expertise of Massey’s Professor Steve Morris, Associate Professor Rebecca Hickson, Professor Paul Kenyon, Professor Hugh Blair and Professor Dorian Garrick, and is supported by the C Alma Baker Trust, and Beef + Lamb NZ Genetics.

Dr Schreurs says more field studies will be required, including market research to see how the product would be received by consumers. In the larger research programme, the researchers hope to look at a range of dairy breeds and dairy-beef crossbreeds.

The aim is one day to have farmers, meat processors and marketers taking on board the concept of New Generation Beef for application into an integrated supply chain for export traded beef with sustainable returns to the beef sector.

Dr Schreurs says the team envisions the development of a new beef product coming from a new generation of farmers, for the new generation of consumers


133 projects are selected for Marsden funding from an increased pool of $84.6m

Massey University is delighted its researchers have received more than $15.6 million from the Royal Society of New Zealand’s annual Marsden Fund for 26 projects, a record number of projects funded and total funding.

The 26 successful Marsden grants – made up of 10 “Fast-Start” grants for new and emerging researchers and 16 standard grants – represent 18.4 per cent of the total funding pool this year.

The projects include studying super-heavy elements, Māori resilience in post-disaster contexts and sexuality and ethical deliberation in residential aged care.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas congratulated the researchers, saying competition for research funding is intense and  133 research projects selected to receive funding nationwide were chosen from more than 1000 preliminary proposals.

The 133 projects are being funded for a total of $84.6 millionm a significant increase from last year’s $65 million.

The Fund received a boost in the 2016 Budget of an additional $66m over four years, which allowed more proposals to be funded and increased the success rate from 10.7% last year to 12% this year.

Full Marsden Fund results are available on the Royal Society Te Apārangi website.

The Science Media Centre is posting expert reaction to the results on its website.

  • Associate Professor Nicola Gaston, Department of Physics, University of Auckland, comments:

“It’s great to see that the Marsden Fund continues to act as it should, in supporting researchers across the science and humanities research spectrum. It is fantastic to see the anticipated increase in success rates deliver, and in particular to see the effect of this on the number of early career grants coming through.

“Success rates remain low, however, and the increase in research funding to OECD averages promised by the new government cannot come soon enough. In particular, the Marsden Fund continues to hold itself to account and report carefully on gender and ethnic equity; this demonstration of best practice should make the Fund a worthy target of that promised increase.

“It’s even nicer to see that there has been a significant increase in the number of Māori researchers funded: this metric has been too low for too long, and it is to be hoped that this year’s data is a sign of real progress – though this is yet to be seen, time will tell.

“It is also really exciting to see the range of projects that have been funded. This is work that underpins and enhances the expertise of our universities and research institutes, and we are all richer for it.”

  • Professor Shaun Hendy, Director, Te Pūnaha Matatini, University of Auckland, comments:

“This is the largest number of Marsden projects awarded in one year and is also one of the highest success rates – in fact, with just over 12% of proposals funded, it is the highest success rate for applicants to the fund since 2003. This is due to the largest real increase in funding since the Marsden Fund was created.

“It is also pleasing that this large increase in funding didn’t simply lead to more proposals being submitted, which would have lowered the success rate and increased the burden across the sector. It was established researchers that benefited most from this increase in funding, with early career applicants receiving the lowest proportion of funds since 2008.”

Massey professor appointed to World Food Security panel

University Massey University’s Professor Barbara Burlingame has been selected for the new High Level Panel of Experts (HLPE) project team, for the Committee on World Food Security (CFS). Professor Burlingame, chosen from a pool of 139 high-powered international candidates, is the only appointment from the Southern Hemisphere.

The team will address the theme ‘Nutrition and Food Systems’ and will report to the Committee’s 44th session next year.

The HLPE was created as part of the reform of the international governance of food security and nutrition. Its key function is to keep the CFS up to date with knowledge and emerging issues in food security to inform policy debates and improve quality, effectiveness and coherence from local to international levels.
Professor Burlingame says this global theme reaffirms the importance of integrating sustainability into how we produce and consume food.

“In New Zealand, we have decades of failed policies and interventions to deal with obesity, diet-related chronic diseases, and micronutrient malnutrition. We also have a long history of agriculture contributing to biodiversity loss and degraded and contaminated ecosystems.

“The CFS maintains that malnutrition is not solely a health sector issue and food production, particularly on the policy side, is not solely an agriculture issue. Giving agriculture and health joint responsibility for providing solutions and bringing in the environment sector to minimise and even reverse damaged agro-ecological zones are necessary to achieve positive results.”

“Our report on nutrition and food systems will provide useful guidance,” says Professor Burlingame.

The HLPE’s report on nutrition and food systems will be prepared by the team with wide consultation among stakeholders during the next 12 months and presented at the October 2017 meeting of the Committee on World Food Security.

Leading NZ food scientist elected a Fellow of US Institute of Food Technologists

The Riddet Institute’s co-director, Distinguished Professor Harjinder Singh, has been elected a Fellow of the United States Institute of Food Technologists.

The institute is the largest union of food scientists in the world. Since 1939, it has been unlocking the potential of the food science community by creating a global forum where members from more than 95 countries can share, learn, and transform scientific knowledge into innovative solutions throughout the food system for the benefit of people around the world.

The institute focuses on food security, food safety, sustainability and food education.

Professor Singh says it is an honour to have been elected a fellow.

“It is a further demonstration of the international profile and impact of food science and technology research and education programmes of the Riddet Institute and Massey University.”

Singh is also the Head of the School of Food and Nutrition at Massey University’s College of Health.

He received his PhD from University College Cork, Ireland and has been with Massey University since 1989. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand and received numerous awards including the Marschall Rhodia International Dairy Science Award (USA), William C. Haines Dairy Science Award (USA), JC Andrews Award, and Shorland Medal (New Zealand). In 2012, he was co-recipient of the prestigious Prime Minister’s Science Prize.

He says Fellows are expected to take a leadership role within IFT and participate in think-tanks and task forces. He will travel to Chicago in July to accept the honour.

The Riddet Institute, a Government-funded Centre of Research Excellence, is a partnership between Massey University (as host institution), the University of Otago, the University of Auckland, AgResearch and Plant & Food Research. It aims to strengthen connections between the food industry and research partners to enhance New Zealand’s reputation for excellence in food and sciences.

Massey to host $5m Food Safety Research Centre

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce and Food Safety Minister Jo Goodhew have announced that Massey University will host the new Food Safety Science and Research Centre.

The Centre will promote, co-ordinate, and deliver food safety science and research for New Zealand. It was a key recommendation from the Government Inquiry into the whey protein concentrate contamination incident.

Massey University was selected by the Science Board following a request for proposals process. The Centre will be managed by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the Ministry for Primary Industries.

The $5 million Centre will benefit from strong links with industry and will be co-funded by Government and industry partners.

The Food Safety Science and Research Centre is part of an overall Government package of improvements to ensure NZ’s food safety system remains at the forefront internationally. The Centre is expected to open in mid-2015.

Food-for-health Challenge scientists will aim to boost NZ exports

The University of Auckland, Massey University and University of Otago, along with Crown Research Institutes AgResearch and Plant & Food Research, are being teamed up for the Government’s High-Value Nutrition National Science Challenge.

The task for the scientists from the five institutions – with other collaborators – is to produce cutting-edge, multi-disciplinary research to help New Zealand companies take advantage of global demand for foods with health benefits.

The ten year challenge is approved with $30.6 million subject to finalisation of contract conditions.

A review at the end of five years means another $53.2 million becomes available for a second five-year period.

Total funding for the High-Value Nutrition Challenge is up to $180.8 million over ten years.

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What Massey research shows about taking knowledge from the lab to the farm

Scientists know a major challenge is getting research out of the lab and into common practice. A Massey University research team, supported by Gravida: National Centre for Growth and Development, has found farmers, in particular, can be a tough crowd to convince.

Massey Professor of Animal Science Hugh Blair discussed the challenges and efforts being made to enhance learning within rural communities in a paper, “Translating Science into Action”.

In a media release today, Gravida says the paper was presented as a keynote speech at last month’s Association for the Advancement of Animal Breeding and Genetics conference in Napier.

The paper reports the first set of results gleaned from two projects – an experimental farmer learning project that has been under way at Massey University since 2011, running to 2014, and answers from a survey of almost 1000 lamb and beef farmers done in 2012.

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