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FSF Building Design

Work to begin on cutting-edge new food research facility

A new food research facility supporting the future of New Zealand’s exports has reached an important milestone, with a contractor appointed and the construction process to start next week.

The $45m Food Science Facility for FoodHQ Partners AgResearch and Massey University will accommodate about 140 staff and students from the two organisations as well as from the Government-funded centre of research excellence, the Riddet Institute.

It will feature laboratories and shared spaces focused around education and research into meat and dairy in a three-storey, 5000 square metre building that will be New Zealand’s largest agri-food innovation centre.

The facility will also be a key component of FoodHQ – a partnership to grow New Zealand’s reputation in food and beverage innovation that includes AgResearch and Massey University among its network of science and innovation partners (more at www.foodhq.com).

AgResearch Chief Executive Dr Tom Richardson says local firm McMillan & Lockwood has been confirmed as the lead contractor to build the facility.

“Work to prepare the site for building is due to begin after Waitangi Day next week. At this stage, the plan is to have the building completed by October 2019. The occupants will include AgResearch staff already based in Palmerston North, and others working in the food sciences who will be relocating to the city,” Dr Richardson says.

“This new joint facility concept – similar to what AgResearch is doing with Lincoln University near Christchurch – is going to accelerate innovation by having world-class talent working together under one roof. In the case of food research, it means the opportunity for new generation products that offer exciting new textures and flavours, and improve peoples’ health and nutrition.”

Massey Vice-Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas says the facility is another exciting development for the university and its Manawatū campus, and integral to Massey’s collaborations with research institutions and other organisations and businesses involved in growing New Zealand’s food exports and reputation for quality and innovation.

“Part of Massey’s strategy is that all our campuses will be innovation ecosystems, magnets for smart enterprises and operated in partnerships founded in respect, trust and mutual benefit,” Professor Thomas says.

“The creation of this facility epitomises those goals we have set for ourselves and our partners.”

 

Article first appeared here https://www.agresearch.co.nz/news/work-to-begin-on-cutting-edge-new-food-research-facility/

Nicola Schreurs

New beef product could spark new industry

FoodHQ Partner Massey University is investigating whether the dairy industry has the potential to drive a new class of beef product by rearing bobby calves who would ordinarily be sent to slaughter.

The dairy industry currently needs to produce calves to maintain milk production, but while a proportion of the females are retained as herd replacements, a large number are sent for slaughter at around four-days old due to a lack of viable alternatives.

The potential new product is being labelled New Generation Beef, and is produced by rearing calves sourced from the dairy industry up to one year of age.

Project lead, Dr Nicola Schreurs of the School of Agriculture and Environment says the research has the potential to spawn a brand-new beef industry which could one day phase-out the slaughter of bobby calves.

“This new product isn’t veal or bull-beef, and we are not specifically targeting the prime steer classification but, we are developing a new, full red-meat product of its own, that could require less resource and deliver a more sustainable product”, she says.

“There is currently little incentive for the dairy farmer to rear additional calves, but there is a large amount of welfare concerns associated with the transport and slaughter of bobby calves. We think that our New Generation Beef system could help the New Zealand dairy industry achieve a ‘zero-bobbies policy’ by turning a low-value product into a high-value product. However, the concept needs validation if it is to have uptake and our research seeks to hammer out how it could work on the farm and will define what type of carcass and meat product we would be getting, as well as considering the potential markets,” Dr Schreurs says.

The initial part of the project involves a group of calves (Kiwi crossed with Hereford) managed on Massey’s farms. These calves will be slaughtered at eight, 10, 12 and 18 months of age and assessed for the meat product obtained. This data will allow the team to consider the economics required to make the system viable and the required market development for the product.

This research will involve Masters students, Sam Pike and Josh Hunt. The programme will also enrol PhD students over the next two years, to assess the environmental impact of the supply chain and specificities for processing.

“Many of the environment issues with beef production arise as a consequence of a production period of two to three years to achieve market requirements”, Dr Schreurs says. “Older animals have reduced feed-use efficiency, increased greenhouse gas emissions and a larger contribution to nitrogen leaching.

“Argentinian beef cattle are slaughtered at approximately one year of age and we think a similar system could be implemented in New Zealand with positive consequences for the environment.”

Future beef

The project will utilise the expertise of Massey’s Professor Steve Morris, Associate Professor Rebecca Hickson, Professor Paul Kenyon, Professor Hugh Blair and Professor Dorian Garrick, and is supported by the C Alma Baker Trust, and Beef + Lamb NZ Genetics.

Dr Schreurs says, in the future, more field studies will be required, including market research to see how this product would be received by consumers. In the larger research programme, the researchers hope to look at a range of dairy breeds and dairy-beef crossbreeds.

“Our goal is to one day have farmers, meat processors and marketers taking on board the concept of New Generation Beef for application into an integrated supply chain for export traded beef with sustainable returns to the beef sector. We see this innovation as a new beef product coming from a new generation of farmers, for the new generation of consumers,” Dr Schreurs says.

 

Article first appeared here https://www.massey.ac.nz/massey/about-massey/news/article.cfm?mnarticle_uuid=E47DFFE1-F15B-4E0D-A2AD-019DA3054904