Partners Networking to Advance South Island Dairying

LU Dairy Farm

The 186 hectare irrigated property, of which 160 hectares is the milking platform, is a former University sheep farm. The farm operates in the top 2% on profitability, producing 17-1750kgMS/ha from high quality irrigated pasture.  Operating with the support of the farm manager and some of the industry’s best farmers and technical input, LUDF has lifted production through increasing efficiency across the business. 

LUDF – focus for 2019/20 Season: Nil-Infrastructure, low input, low N-loss, maximise profit.

Farm system comprises 3.5 cows/ha (peak milked), Target 160kgN/ha, 300kgDM/cow imported supplement, plus winter most cows off farm. FWE of less than $4.00kgMS million and target production of 500kgMS/cow (>100% liveweight in milk production), 1700kgMS/ha.


To maximise sustainable profit embracing the whole farm system through:

  • optimising productivity for profitability without increasing the farm's total environmental footprint
  • operating within definable and acceptable animal welfare targets, and
  • remaining relevant to Canterbury [and South Island] dairy farmers by demonstrating practices achievable by leading and progressive farmers.
  • LUDF is to accept a higher level of risk [than may be acceptable to many farmers] in the initial or transition phase of this project.
Additional Objectives
  • To develop and demonstrate world-best practice pasture based dairy farming systems and to transfer them to dairy farms throughout the South Island.
  • To consider the farms full environmental footprint, land requirement, resource use and efficiency in system decision making and reporting
  • To use the best environmental monitoring and irrigation management systems in the development and implementation of practices, that achieve sustainable growth in profit from productivity and protection of the wider environment.
  • To ensure optimal use of all nutrients on farm, including effluent, fertiliser, nutrients imported from supplements and atmospheric nitrogen; through storage where necessary, distribution according to plant needs and retention in the root zone. 
  • To continue the environmental monitoring programme and demonstrate technologies and farming practices that will ensure the average annual concentration of nitrate-N in drainage water from below the plant root zone remains below the critical value [16 mg N/L] specified in ECan’s proposed regional rule in order for LUDF to remain a ‘permitted activity’ [Rule WQL20].
  • To quantify carbon dioxide equivalent emissions and develop an understanding of the implications of our fott print and adopt mitigation strategies based on good science.
  • To store and apply effluent such that there is no significant microbial contamination of the shallow aquifers.
  • To manage pastures and grazing so per hectare energy production is optimised and milkers consume as much metabolisable energy [ME] as practicable.
  • To optimize the use of the farm automation systems and demonstrate / document improved efficiencies and subsequent effect on the business.
  • To achieve industry targets for mating performance within a 10 week mating period, including a 6 week in-calf rate of 79% and 10 week in calf rate greater than 89% ie empty rate of less than 11%.
  • To continue to document and measure LUDF’s influence on changes to defined management practices on other dairy farms.
  • To ensure specific training is adequate and appropriate to enable staff members to contribute effectively in meeting the objectives of the farm.
  • To operate an efficient and well organised business unit.
  • To generate profit through tight cost control with appropriate re-investment and maintenance of the resources.
  • To create and maintain an effective team environment at policy, management and operational levels.
  • To actively seek labour productivity gains through adoption of technologies and practices that reduces labour requirements or makes the work environment more satisfying.
  • To assist Lincoln University to attract top quality domestic and international students into the New Zealand dairy industry.

Lincoln University Dairy Farm also provides specific seasonal objectives and ongoing research for both SIDDC and LUDF.

Mean annual maximum temperature 32 °C
Mean annual minimum temperature 4 °C
Average days of screen frost 36 days per annum
Mean average bright sunshine 2040 hours per annum
Average annual rainfall 666 mm


Home 160.1 ha
Runoff (East Block) 15.2 ha 
Non productive land 6.7 ha
Staffing and Management  

Farm Manager - Peter Hancox
Farm 2IC - Will Somerville
Farm Assistant - Kathryn Townley
Farm Assistant - Harry Johnson


Roster system

8 days on then 2 days off
8 days on 3 days off

Milking times

Morning - cups on 5:00am
Afternoon - cups on 2:30pm

LUDF safety and hazards information:
  • Children are the responsibility of their parent or guardian.
  • Normal hazards associated with a dairy farm.
  • Other vehicle traffic on farm roads and races.
  • Crossing public roads.
  • Underpass may be slippery.


Plantings on LUDF - Click here - includes photos from 2008 - 2012

The 186 hectare irrigated property, of which 160 hectares is the milking platform, is a former University sheep farm. Converted to dairying in 2001, the dairy farm is managed by the South Island Dairying Development Centre (SIDDC), representing its seven partner organisations. The different soil types on the farm represent most of the common soil types in Canterbury.