Ashley Dene, Pastoral Systems Research Farm, is located 12 km from Lincoln University and occupies an area of 355 ha - Ashley Dene Farm map (PDF 66 KB).
Ashley Dene is an integral part of the Sheep Technology Centre as a Research Farm for pastoral systems work. In this role it provides resources to breed and maintain a number of unique sheep flocks with particular attributes for research e.g. Coopworth flocks - index, CT meat and control lines; Batten disease flocks; a Merino flock involved in 'cutting edge NZ wool products'. A recently purchased research flock that has been developed to study fat and lean growth in lambs; a central progeny test site (one of three national centres) to provide genetic links for the national sheep genetic database.
Ashley Dene is a total of 355 ha in three blocks.
The main block is the largest (205 ha) and has the lightest soils. A small irrigation system covers around 50 ha. The Cemetery block is just over 100 ha and includes the woolshed, main sheep yards and cattle yards. The smaller home block is 50 ha and can be influenced by the water table of the Selwyn River.
Ashley Dene currently has a combination of Lucerne (33%), permanent pasture (42%), winter feed (20%), and a small amount of summer crop (5%).
Approximately 80% of the total area is of a light, stony, drought prone soil type.
||Lismore very stony silt loam|
||Eyre very stony silt loam|
||Eyre stony silt loam|
||Wakanui shallow sandy loam|
||Wakanui shallow sandy loam|
||Wakanui silt loam on clay|
While the limitations of the soils are a known factor, rainfall is much less so. The amount of rain and when it falls, can have a significant effect on production levels. What can at first appear to be an excellent growing season can turn to severe drought conditions in a matter of weeks.
Average annual rainfall is 633 mm (10 year average)
Ongoing development of Ashley Dene
A proposal to develop enhanced irrigation at Ashley Dene will add strength to the overall strategic farm portfolio by providing a substantial area of irrigated land with the capability to conduct large scale sheep and cattle research under irrigated conditions. Under this proposed development broad acre arable research will potentially be possible and will allow researchers to bid for research funds confident in the fact that the physical resources would be available.
As a result Ashley Dene would become a multi-use Pastoral Systems Research Farm capable of providing resources for pure dryland plant and animal research, intensive irrigated land plant and animal research.
This development has been approved with the aim of full implementation by December 2012.
Recent and current research at Ashley Dene
- Application of new molecular markers to improve sheep carcass weights
- Improved meat quality and consumer acceptance of processed meat
- High breeding efficiency versus low breeding efficiency ewes
- Battens disease research (David Palmer) funded in American dollars
- Breeding research investigating heritability and genetic correlations between closed lines using single trait selection
- Sustainable control of footrot (Jon Hickford)
- Cataract research
- Ryegrass staggers research
- Effect of nutrition and exposure to enmatode infection on the periparturient immune response, nematode burden, wool and lamb growth rates and survival
- Lucerne modelling
- Lucerne and clover systems for sheep under dryland conditions
- Caucasian clover with Cocksfoot
- Identification of better performing sires which are able to produce higher value carcasses
- Four commercial research projects currently in progress
- Development of vaccine for protection against toxoplasmosis
- Dietary preference in sheep
- Internal parasite resistance versus resilience
- Selection for lean and fat animals and its effect on other production traits
- Dairy systems for environmental protection
- Cutting edge New Zealand wool products
- Biodiesel research
Beef and Lamb New Zealand, Central Progeny Test Results (PDF 505 KB)
Colin Pettigrew, Farm Manager
Chris Logan, Animal Programme Manager
Department of Agricultural Sciences
PO Box 85084
Phone: +64 3 3253 811
Facsimile: +64 3 3253 851