Operational Management


Southland Demonstration and Research Farm


The Southland Demonstration and Research Farm Limited (SDRF) will be a charitable company fully owned by the Southern Dairy Development Trust (SDDT).

SDRF will operate the hub, including the  farm, and Agribusiness Centre (which includes offices and facilities for training, education and extension) and will contract researchers for the Hub. It will lease assets from Southern Dairy Hub Limited Partnership (SDH LP). The lease will be for a term of five years – SDRF having a right (but not an obligation) to renew the lease for a further five years. Subsequently both parties would be required to renegotiate the lease beyond 10 years.

SDDT is in the process of putting in place a transparent and open process for trustees to be appointed to the trust (as of June 2016) and SDDT will decide on a process for the appointment of directors to both SDH and SDRF.

SDH Orgn chart_Simple

Research Advisory Committee

A Research Advisory Committee (RAC) will oversee research projects.  The RAC will recommend research to be carried out on the farm to the SDRF Board for their approval.

Each partner has appointed their own representatives. The committee has two members from AgResearch, DairyNZ and the SDDT.

 Adam McCall – SDDT farmer representative

Adam McCall and his wife Georgie milk 650 cows on 215ha milking platform at Kelso in west Otago. The farm business is a 50:50 equity partnership with his parents.

After graduating, Adam worked as a consulting officer for Dexcel (now DairyNZ) for 18 months before entering the family business. He has a good understanding of the issues faced by many farmers in the wider Otago area. Environmental sustainability and people are his focus for the future.

Adam has a BCom and a Master of Applied Science (Farm Management Consultancy) from Lincoln University.

Dean Alexander – SDDT farmer representative

Dean Alexander and his wife Suzanne are in their fifth season as owner-operators milking 600 cows at Winton. They previously spent 15 years farming sheep and beef in the Waikato.  Dean has also worked in the rural banking sector.

The Alexanders are interested in herd genetics and improvement and giving stock the opportunity to reach their genetic potential. Dean is excited about the Hub because it will create opportunities for research with meaningful comparisons and results. He looks forward to being involved in the project and will bring a farmer perspective to the role.

Dean has a Commerce degree from Lincoln University.

Robyn Dynes – AgResearch   

Dr Robyn Dynes is a scientist with AgResearch based at Lincoln.  She is a farming systems scientist with interests in the current and future challenges facing our farming systems.  In addition Robyn is Science Impact Leader for Dairy Farming Systems within AgResearch which involves insight into current research and its alignment with industry needs, oversight of research across AgResearch and foresight into future research needs. Robyn spent her early years in Southland then Canterbury and many years in Western Australia before returning to Canterbury.

Robyn has a PhD from Lincoln University.

 Ross Monaghan – AgResearch

Dr Ross Monaghan is a soil scientist specializing in nitrogen cycling in grazed dairy systems and is based at AgResearch’s Invermay campus near Mosgiel.  Much of his current research focuses on quantifying N and P losses to water and assisting end user groups with policy development and/or management guidelines that can reduce these losses.

Ross Monaghan has also been heavily involved in a wide range of dairy industry-funded research projects that seek to develop on-farm mitigation practices that allow for profitable dairy farming while meeting regionally-based targets for water quality. He co-leads objective 4 of the Pastoral 21 research programme currently underway at Telford dairy farm in South Otago.

Ross has a Bachelor of Agricultural Science degree (First Class Honours, Lincoln University) and a PhD, Soil Science (The University of Reading).

 Bruce Thorrold – DairyNZ

Dr Bruce Thorrold is the Strategy and Investment Leader for Productivity at DairyNZ.  He directs the investment of $20M of dairy farmers’ levy money to deliver improved feed production and animal performance and improved farm systems.

Bruce has a long history of being part of initiating and leading major projects focused on the future needs of the pastoral industry. Projects include the development of OVERSEER, long-term studies on farm systems and catchments in hill country that continue to provide valuable economic and environmental data to industry stakeholders.

Bruce has a B.Agr.Sci. (Hons 1) from Lincoln College, Canterbury University and a PhD in Soil science from Lincoln University.

Dawn Dalley – DairyNZ

Dr Dawn Dalley is a senior scientist in the Feed and Farm Systems group at DairyNZ in Lincoln. She moved to Canterbury in 2006 after three years managing the Whareroa Research Centre in Taranaki. Before that Dawn spent eight years in Victoria, Australia, as a team leader in the animal nutrition group at the Department of Natural Resources and Environment (now DEPI).

The majority of Dawn’s research now focusses on identifying future dairy farm systems that reduce the environmental footprint of dairy farms while increasing or maintaining profitability.

Dawn has a PhD, Ruminant Nutrition 1992, Lincoln University and a B.Agri.Sci (Hons 1) Ruminant Nutrition 1988, Lincoln College, Canterbury University.