What we do

The Dryland Pastures Research (DPR) Group mission is to provide research led information to farmers, the extension industry, students and the general public. The research is directed by Professor Derrick Moot who initiated the programme in 1998. The aim is to develop dryland pastoral farms that offer resilience to climate variability and climate change. Our work focusses on quantifying genetic (plant species) by environment (rain-fed) interactions to develop robust on-farm management systems. These transform the financial, social and environmental outcomes of sheep, beef and deer farmers across New Zealand. We research how abiotic and biotic factors differ across a farm and then introduce appropriate solutions to enhance on-farm plant and animal production. Our work has a legume focus to provide a sustainable way to overcome the chronic nitrogen shortage present on all pastoral and arable farms. The research team is output focussed with regular publications in international journals that aim to influence international practices. We maintain local focus by ensuring New Zealand farmers have ready access to our latest outputs through field days, discussion groups, a text alert service on lucerne management managed by Beef + Lamb New Zealand, Facebook and Youtube channels plus this dedicated website.

Our main focus is on dryland (rainfed) pasture production but our background in plant physiology means we also work with forage crops, wheat, barley, maize, peas and potatoes. Often we use irrigation as a treatment to determine potential yields. This allows us to quantify the extent of yield losses relative to potential when we impose other treatments.

Who we are

Our team involves academic staff, technicians, research associates, research fellows, and postgraduate students who collectively work on all aspects of farm systems including soils, plants and animals. We tie the work together using individual species and farm system models that enable policy and impact questions to be assessed. The team is closely aligned with industry partners and the agribusiness community for our mutual benefit to enhance the quality of research and extension available to farmers. We welcome international students, interns and sabbatical visitors as part of our research team and encourage community wide outreach and engagement.

Our Blog

The blog initially began as part of the SFF funded Marlborough Technology Transfer research project in 2012. Once this programme ended we began using the blog as a place to provide updates on the newer research projects. Contributors to blog include dryland pasture experts from Lincoln University, farmers involved with on-farm research and adaption on commercial properties, DPR team members and invited industry associates. This site aims to provide information about dryland pastures to the farming and agribusiness communities. Our goal is the transfer of information and technology to the rural community interested in aspects of dryland pastoral systems.

Farms who contributed to blog posts the initial Marlborough Technology Transfer project, which documented on-farm activity with photos from our Marlborough famers included: ‘Bonavaree’ (Doug & Fraser Avery), ‘Breach Oak’ (Warwick & Lisa Lissaman), ‘The Pyramid’ (Chris & Julia Dawkins) and ‘Tempello’ (David & Jo Grigg). Gundy & Lisa Anderson from ‘Bog Roy Station‘ between Omarama & Otematata started outlining changes to their farm system from 2013.