ODT - BLNZ and AbacusBio collaborating on Future Farm project

Beef and Lamb New Zealand is working with Dunedin-based agribusiness company Abacus- Bio to establish a Future Farm project.

The Future Farm, which will be a hill-country sheep and beef property with about6000 stock units, will operate as a fully commercial livestock farming enterprise.

It will be used by BLNZ to trial new technologies and farm systems as part of its strategy to lift farm productivity and profitability.

The likely model would be a lease property or a partnership with an existing farmer, general manager innovation Richard Wakelin said.

"We’re open-minded. We’re not looking to be in the market to purchase, but we welcome ideas people have on how we could structure an arrangement.  The key is the right farm with the right people around it," Mr Wakelin said.

The Future Farm aimed to exceed existing high-performance standards in a range of areas including economics, people, animal, environmental and forages, he said.

It also wanted to test new farming systems and technologies that might be unproven or toohigh a risk for most farmers.

"The aim is for farmers to be able to observe, learn and assess the feasibility of how these might be applied in their own situation."

While there were similar models in both New Zealand and Australia, it was a first for the New Zealand sheep and beef sector, he said.