SAC #24: Agricultural intensification in the North Otago region: comparing soil quality and pasture production under traditional and irrigated land-uses


Thursday, 28 September 2006, 4- 5:30pm


Seminar Room, Centre for Innovation, 87 St. David St.


David Houlbrooke, AgResearch



With the stage one completion of a large irrigation scheme some parts of the North Otago Rolling Downlands (NORD) are about to undergo a large change in land-use. In an area that has been previously extensively farmed the potential production benefits and impacts on soil quality under intensive land-use resulting from irrigation are largely unknown. The issue in North Otago is the predominance of Fragic-Pallic soils that are characterised by impeded drainage and poor structural strength, especially when wet. To address the science gap regarding sustainability of the soil resource in the North Otago region and to develop best management practices under land-use change, a research programme was developed by AgResearch in 2004 as part of the LUCI (Land-Use Change and Intensification) programme. This talk will provide a summary on research findings to date.

About the Speaker

David Houlbrooke is a Soil Scientist based at AgResearch at the Invermay Agricultural Centre, Mosgiel. Originally from a rural background (on sheep/beef properties in the Wairarapa and Waikato), David earned a Bsc and Msc in Earth Sciences from the University of Waikato. His research interests include - Improved management of farm dairy effluent applications to land; Impacts of land use intensification on soil quality and plant production; managing soil compaction under intensive cattle grazing; nutrient losses from agriculture systems under mole-pipe drainage; best environmental management practises for sustainable dairy farming.