Industry body DairyNZ and dairy giant Fonterra have partnered to create a NZ$170m research programme to help drive “transformational change in the dairy industry”.

DairyNZ CEO Dr Tim Mackle said the move is a major step for the ongoing development of the New Zealand dairy industry, and that it would bring significant benefits across the whole primary sector.

Dairy NZ is contributing NZ$29m and Fonterra is putting NZ$47m into the seven-year programme. It will include new research and training to boost on-farm productivity, as well as post-farm gate research in nutrition, food structure and manufacturing ans supply chain processes.

The initiative is taking place through a Primary Growth Partnership (PGP), a New Zealand government scheme which invests in research and innovation in the country’s primary and food sectors.

Another NZ$9m is being contributed by other PGP industry partners: Synlait, Landcorp, LIC, Young Farmers, Agricultural Services Limited and ZESPRI.

Research will focus on finding genes that boost production, while reducing emissions and waste. It will also look for key genetic markers for fertility, lameness and mastitis.

The study will also look to increase staff numbers in industry and partner research organisations to deliver the post farm gate research programme, including three new professorial appointments.

“This research will help us take our dairy ingredients into more formats, to more customers and more markets,” said Hill.