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Our Story

Located close to Invercargill, the Southern Dairy Hub (SDH) was established in 2017 as a research farm.

SDH is the largest farm of its type in New Zealand and one of the bigger ones internationally - something the whole region can be proud of.

The Southern Dairy Hub’s 349-hectare facility is jointly invested in by southern dairy farmers, AgResearch and DairyNZ.

It operates as a working dairy farm as well as a site for important research that gives farmers great data to help them make decisions about their environmental footprint, profitability and looking after their animals. It’s targeted at the very specific regional challenges local farmers face because of soil types and weather conditions.

It’s thanks to the generosity of the community, sponsors, and funders that it’s able to deliver the groundbreaking research that it does.

With four farmlet systems of about 200 cows each to allow direct comparisons, the Hub and its research team trial the performance of different crops, feeding approaches and systems, focusing on the impacts on productivity and profitability.

SDH By the Numbers


What is the Southern Dairy Hub?

A research and demonstration farm that will allow farmer-led and local issues to be researched on southern soils, in southern conditions.

How did it come about?

It was established in response to Southland and Otago farmers wanting dairy challenges in the region to be addressed through local research and demonstration.

When did conversion begin?

November 2016.

When did the farm become operational?

The hub effectively became a working farm from 1 June, and calving is due to start 15 July.

How much did it cost to establish?

To set-up the hub and purchase stock it has cost approximately $19.5 million.

Who founded the hub?

The principal shareholders, DairyNZ and AgResearch, each invested $5 million, while through the Southern Dairy Development Trust (SDDT) local farmers and businesses added a further $1.25 million. Manageable debt has funded the balance.

How did it
all start?


The Southern Dairy Development Trust (SDDT) is a charitable trust and was borne out of an initiative in 2007 to establish an entity that could provide Southland with a dedicated research or demonstration farm focused on dairying.

Farmers in the Southland region took the initiative to establish the Southern Dairy Development Trust (SDDT) and its fully owned registered trading company, the Southland Demonstration Farm (SDF). The Southland Demonstration Farm Limited, which originally leased a farm at Wallacetown, and then leased and operated an 800-cow dairy farm near Makarewa.

The scheduled expiry of the lease on the farm at Wallacetown encouraged SDDT to seek a more permanent solution to meet the needs of the Southern Dairying community.

The SDDT and SDF approached DairyNZ and AgResearch who then formed a partnership with SDDT to establish a dedicated Southern Dairy Hub (SDH) to facilitate dairying research and extension.


When the lease on the Southern Demonstration Farm ended, southern farmers and businesses committed an additional $1.2 million to establish a dedicated Southern Dairy Hub (SDH) to facilitate dairying research and extension in the region.

With investment from DairyNZ and AgResearch, the 349ha drystock property at Wallacetown was purchased and converted into what is probably the largest pastoral Agricultural Research facility on the planet. 

More information about Southern Dairy Hub

Thanks to our Partners

We wouldn't be here without the foresight and vision of these organisations who invested in the development and establishment of SDH

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