The Dairy Board has put up NZ$16.4m for the creation of Dexcel, a Hamilton-based on-farm "dairy centre of excellence." The centre will house the Dairying Research Corporation and the Livestock Improvement Corporation, and aims to play an "absolutely pivotal" role in boosting farmers' efficiency, revealed Graham Fraser, chairman of the Dairy board.

Fraser added: "Our crucial efficiency advantage over our international competitors is being eroded [because] the industry and the government have been under spending in the field of on-farm research for some years. The industry's future depends very directly on effecting an urgent turnaround in this area."

The establishment of Dexcel therefore represents the industry's determination to meet improvement targets in on-farm productivity of 4% every year. After initial funding by the dairy board runs out, farmers will pay running costs at the Newstead farm themselves.

Dexcel has also been created as a measure to deal with the move towards dairy industry deregulation expected over the next few years, and is expected to commence operations on 15 December.