27 Feb 2013

Farm sector tech-transfer needs boost - Govt

6:37 am on 27 February 2013

A new Government report says technology transfer in the primary sector needs a shake-up.

The Ministry of Primary Industry said the introduction of new ideas, technology and practices is allowing New Zealand farmers and growers to become world leaders and adapt to decades of structural change.

But a survey of practitioners said technology transfer - moving the benefits of research into the wider economy - needs a boost.

It said there are too few professionals in that field and they need to be better linked to provide a more integrated approach to sharing new information.

The ministry views the process as an essential part of improving the long-term performance and sustainability of farming.

It's done an economic analysis which shows that lifting the average performance of pastoral farmers to match the top 25% could lift the economy by $3 billion per year.

One key technology transfer programme is a key ingredient in national research aimed at more sustainable farming.

Pastoral 21 is a five year collaboration between the Government, research bodies and pastoral industries to show farmers how they can increase production and profits while reducing their environmental footprint.

It covers dairying as well as mixed livestock farming.

AgResearch programme leader Dr Mark Shepherd said it's only in its second season, but there have already been some early results from demonstration dairy farms set up in four regions, including Waikato and Southland.