Fonterra seeks Hokkaido farmers for dairy study


Fonterra is seeking four Hokkaido dairy farms to take part in a study to increase the efficiency and profitability of grassland dairy farming in Japan.

The study, which begins in December this year, will involve the collection and monitoring of physical, production and economic performance data from four leading Hokkaido grassland dairy farms. The analysis will take place over one production season and include data collection over summer outside grazing periods and during indoor winter housing.  

The project will be run in conjunction with the New Zealand Government and Japanese agricultural equipment provider Farmage with the focus on helping lift the efficiency of pasture utilisation by grazing cows improving milk production and quality, and increasing economic productiveness.

President Fonterra Japan, Yasuhiro Saito, said knowledge sharing between Japan and New Zealand dairy industries was crucial to ensuring the continued affordability of dairy products and choice to local consumers, and further strengthening confidence in dairy as a foundation of good nutrition.

Mr Saito said, “Our project in Hokkaido is about dairy farmers helping dairy farmers. New Zealand and Japan share strong agricultural bonds, and we see working together with other pasture-based dairy industries playing an important role in keeping grass-fed dairy production at the forefront of global dairy innovation and supply.

“At a local level, dairy is becoming an increasingly larger part of Japanese diets, but in order for the Japanese dairy industry to continue to support its own consumer base, it needs to address issues with falling raw milk production and high production costs that are pushing smaller operators out of the industry.

“We look forward to working with Hokkaido dairy farmers to assist with making improvements in efficiency and productivity and seeing the Japanese dairy industry flourish,” said Mr Saito.

Fonterra has appointed Keith Betteridge to lead the project. Mr Betteridge has over 42 years of grassland dairy farming experience including time spent in Japan conducting pasture research and understanding the effects of continental climate on grassland farming.

Mr Betteridge and his project team will be speaking to Hokkaido dairy farmers over the coming months seeking four dairy farmers to participate in on-farm data collection.

The project will take place in three phases:





Phase 1

Call for Hokkaido dairy farmer participants

July – August 2014


Phase 2

On farm data collection and monitoring

Project Update to Grassland Farming School in May of 2015

December 2014 - November 2015.


Phase 3

Final project report and presentation to Grassland Farming School and interested parties

May 2016

About Keith Betteridge

Previously a senior scientist from Land and Environmental Management, AgResearch Grasslands, Mr Betteridge has 42 years of extensive agricultural science research into pasture renewal, quality and management, environmental damage mitigation, farm and animal management.

He has spent time in Japan with the National Grassland Research Institute (NGRI) conducting research into grazed pastures. He has also been involved in pasture research projects supported by the Fellowship of Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science for Young Scientists, International Science Relationships and the Japan-New Zealand Science Collaboration Fund. Mr Betteridge has a Masters of Agricultural Science from Massey University, New Zealand.