Crown-owned institute AgResearch says the decision to sell its grazing and arable research farm in Mid Canterbury won't compromise any of its work.
Purchased in 1946, the 300-hectare Winchmore station has been used for research projects, including irrigation and long-term fertiliser trials, contributing to more than 500 science publications.
The national farm manager at AgResearch, Ron Pellow, said it has 12 farms spread across New Zealand, which it used for livestock and cropping research.
But Mr Pellow said projects and priorities had changed in recent years, which had seen more research conducted on commercial farms or small-scale intensive research.
This meant it no longer required the Winchmore property, he said.
"It's ultimately influenced by where as New Zealand we choose to invest our overall research investment, and where AgResearch can best contribute to that and to outcomes of transforming agriculture... and for us at this point, it's more of our research centred in places like Lincoln and Massey Universities," he said.
Mr Pellow said small-scale research included the likes of forage breeding work, which starts with a few plants in a glass house and expands to a square metre.
Research at the institute would not be compromised by the decision to sell Winchmore, with 4.1-hectare fertiliser trial set to continue operating beyond the sale of the farm, he said.
Mr Pellow said he expected there to be significant interest in the Winchmore property, which he hoped would continue to contribute to the local economy.
The farm will be offered for sale by deadline private treaty, with offers to be received by the end of February, if not sold before then.